Etailer Shop Direct has delivered a record Christmas driven by “stellar” mobile growth and and

The Littlewoods owner reported sales up 5% in the six weeks up to and including December 27.

Shop Direct group chief executive Alex Baldock said that despite the highly promotional retail environment in the run up to Christmas the retailer “kept discipline in stock and cost control” and is ahead of its EBITDA and profit targets.

The week commencing Saturday November 30 was the busiest of the year for Shop Direct while Monday December 2 - Cyber Monday – was the busiest day.

Digital sales jumped 14% in the six weeks, with online now accounting for 84% of total sales – up from 80% this time last year.

Mobile sales increased 64% and accounted for 43% of online sales, against 28% last year

Traffic from mobile devices beat desktop for the first time at 52%, up from 37% last year, while the retailer enjoyed 56 million visits to its websites, an increase of 32%.

The group sold over 119,000 tablets, up 31% on last year, and it sold a onesie every 35 seconds.

Baldock said:  “We’re proud to report a record Christmas for Shop Direct. We’ve come through an exceptionally tough environment, and come through it stronger. This Christmas was another milestone on our journey to being a world class digital retailer, as our department store range, unique financial services offer and ever-growing ecommerce capabilities allowed us to make good things easily accessible to more people.

 “Our newer brands, and, once again outpaced the market. For that, we can thank our strongest ever product offering, with the likes of Adidas, Apple, Babyliss, Samsung, Superdry and UGG among our best sellers.

 “We also made big strides in ecommerce. Mobile exploded as a source of both traffic and sales. More than half of all visits to our websites came from smartphones and tablets this Christmas. By 2015, we expect every transaction to involve a mobile device at some point in the customer journey. It’s hard to overstate how important this trend is, and we mean to stay on top of it.

 “The retail market has been highly promotional. We’ve responded selectively, but we’ve kept our discipline in stock and cost control, and are ahead of our EBITDA and profit targets. Looking forward, we will continue to invest to build a world class digital retailer. Our outlook for the rest of 2013-14 does remain cautious, though: we’re not banking on this market being any less challenging.”

Together Very and Isme delivered a combined retail sales increase of 27%. Shop Direct said heritage brands Littlewoods and KandCo “continued to be successfully managed for profitability”, however sales fell 5% at the two businesses.

Shop Direct’s investment in its Ladybird brand boosted childrenswear sales by 20%.

Beauty sales were up 18%, driven by the introduction of new brands including GHD, St Tropez, Illamasqua and Bourjois.

Shop Direct posts 5% Christmas sales rise driven by "stellar" mobile growth