Shop Direct Group is to rebrand Littlewoods Direct as it seeks to develop its appeal to a younger online customer base.

Littlewoods Direct will be renamed Very, with a new website Aimed at shoppers aged between 25 and 45, and particularly younger families, the Barclay Brothers-owned group expects that 80 per cent of the business will be online. A smaller, 350-page directory featuring 70 per cent of the range will also be produced, as will a magazine, which will be mailed to 700,000 customers.

The brand, which will launch on July 5, will focus on three main product sectors: fashion, mother and baby, and home and technology. It will offer 10,000 products - with lines added every week - and between 1.4 million and 1.5 million customers on the group’s database will be moved over to the brand.

A marketing campaign will launch in September.

Shop Direct trading director David Inglis said that the aim was to offer a more social shopping experience for online shoppers. “Our customers have been telling us they would like a different kind of online shopping experience. They miss the social aspect of shopping on the high street and with Very they will be able to influence what we do. It will be more of a shared shopping experience.”

Inglis said this would be achieved through a network of customer, buyer and celebrity insiders who would interact with customers on the site and discuss and review products on sale. Inglis declined to name the celebrities lined up for the launch.

He emphasised that Littlewoods, which remains Shop Direct’s biggest brand, remains key to the group. Its main difference from Littlewoods Direct is that it retains the company’s traditional “all-in” weekly payment method, as opposed to the Direct business’s more typical payment model.

While the benefits of using the same brand in, for example, advertising, will be lost, Inglis said it was time to split the brands due to the emergence of a new breed of online customer in the Direct business.

“A year ago would have been too soon but if we’d left it a year hence we’d have missed the boat.”

Shop Direct has also bought the Woolworths brand and plans to relaunch it as on online business.