Opinion: The time isn’t right to sell Shop Direct

Shop Direct reports a Very merry Christmas with sales up 4%

Shop Direct owners the Barclay family are understood to have kicked off a review of their business empire, raising questions about the etailer’s future ownership.

The review, which comprises the bulk of the family’s business portfolio including The Ritz Hotel in London, newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph and delivery business Yodel, comes at a challenging time for Shop Direct.

Shop Direct, which will rebrand as The Very Group this month to align itself with its biggest brand, reported spiralling losses in its full-year results last month. It posted a statutory loss of £185.5m in comparison with a loss of £24.7m the previous year.

The retailer blamed its ballooning losses on an “unexpected surge” in PPI payout claims amounting to £169m in the final weeks of its financial year, resulting in a £150m funding gap the business needs to plug.

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