Retail may be struggling, but you wouldn’t know it looking at Shop Direct’s latest results.

Underlying pre-tax profits have shot up 10.2% at the etailer, while like-for-likes rose 5.6%.

It’s the fifth consecutive year of rising profits and sales at Shop Direct, which has transformed from a fusty catalogue retailer into an AI pioneer under the tenures of Mark Newton-Jones and Alex Baldock.

While it’s a slowdown in underlying pre-tax profit growth – it rose an astonishing 43.6% last year – sales and gross margin both held fast.

The etailer’s bid for external investment may not have turned out quite how it had hoped, but it’s clearly not all bad.

Elsewhere today, Nisa boss Nick Read has quit ahead of a formal offer for the retailer from the Co-op, John Lewis has poached Arcadia property director Chris Harris and Reserved is eying a UK store push after its Oxford Street launch.

Quote of the day

“This business is still nowhere near its full potential”

– Shop Direct boss Alex Baldock sounds an ambitious note

Tomorrow’s agenda

Tomorrow brings Tesco’s interims and prelims from sofa specialist ScS.

Becky Waller-Davies, reporter