Home shopping group Shop Direct is gunning for double-digit sales growth this year on the back of new brand launch Isme and expanded product lines across the group.
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Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said the growth would come off the back of a “strong peak trading performance” over Christmas, when it recorded a 5% increase in total sales, excluding VAT, for the six weeks to December 31, 2010.
Online department store Isme launched last week and is aimed at mature women. Newton-Jones said: “We see Isme as a huge opportunity. The mature market is substantial and badly served. We expect it to contribute to double-digit growth this year.”
Shop Direct will increase product lines by 30% this year. It will up the number of lines it carries on brands such as Ugg, G-Star Raw and Ralph Lauren for Kids and bring in new brands, including electricals suppliers Smeg and Neff.
Newton-Jones said Very, which launched in July 2009, was Shop Direct’s stand-out performer over Christmas, and gave him the confidence to launch Isme. Very’s sales rose 36% over the festive period, and new customers were up 40%.
He said etailers had benefited at the expense of the high street over Christmas: “Snow definitely helped sales, with more people shopping from the comfort of their homes.
“It also encouraged people to refresh their winter wardrobe. Sales of knitwear were up 50% and outerwear grew 40%.”
Newton-Jones also said concerns about the snow hampering pre-Christmas deliveries were “hugely over-played” and “only the most isolated parts of Scotland and the southwest were affected”.
This year investment will be ploughed into Isme and new product lines rather than the online incarnation of Woolworths, and which also sits in the Shop Direct stable, and which Newton-Jones expected to “tick over”.
He said: “We would sooner invest in brands like Isme and Very, which have broader appeal.”
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