IT staff hike at Littlewoods and Shop Direct

Littlewoods Home Shopping and Shop Direct are taking on 100 IT staff on a temporary basis as they integrate IT systems.

The roles will last for the duration of the project, which is expected to take three years.

According to a Shop Direct spokesman, the vacancies are for analyst, development and project management roles, and staff will be hired in a phased approach as the project progresses.

The move comes after Littlewoods reduced its IT headcount by a fifth, to 300 employees, in November last year.

At the time, the retailer said the rationalisation of its IT department was because of a slowdown in IT activity.

The Barclay brothers bought the former GUS Home Shopping arm, now renamed Shop Direct, for£590 million in May last year. The brothers, who acquired Littlewoods in 2002, are keen to drive synergies between the two home shopping companies.

Littlewoods and Shop Direct still operate separately, although some functions, such as buying and distribution, are expected to be combined.

The Shop Direct spokesman refused to go into detail about the forthcoming project, saying only that new staff would focus on 'optimising the company's IT systems'.