Shop Direct Group is chasing a greater share of the over-50s female market dominated by rival N Brown, and is set to return to profit this year.

Group chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said he is pursuing the over-50s because it is the fastest-growing group on the internet and competition is limited.

Shop Direct’s brands targeted at older customers including Kays, Marshall Ward and Empire will be rebranded under one banner for spring under a still undecided name.

“This is circa 30% of our business at the moment,” said Newton-Jones. “It will form a significant part of the business.” The initiative will also be driven by developing the own-brand offer, such as Savoir, and bought-in brands.

The home shopping specialist, which controls brands including Very and Littlewoods, expects to return to profit after narrowing losses from £114m to £21m in the year to April 30. Sales were flat at £1.7bn and Newton-Jones expects sales to remain flat in the current financial year.