Littlewoods/GUS merger heralds delivery cost hike

Multi-channel retailers Next, QVC and Redcats are likely to face higher home delivery costs now that Littlewoods has been given the all-clear to merge its mail order business with GUS Home Shopping.

Littlewoods chairman David Simons said the logistics arms of Littlewoods and GUS - Business Express and White Arrow - had been 'undercharging' for third-party distribution contracts, which 'did not reflect true costs'.

Simons said there were no immediate plans to merge the two empires completely. GUS Home Shopping, renamed Shop Direct, will retain its identity and stable of catalogues.

He would not comment on likely job losses, but said the retailer would squeeze out long- term cost savings.