Home and furniture sales shrink at Very Group

The Very Group, which operates multicategory digital retailers Very and Littlewoods, has reported a decline in sales with all major furniture categories suffering.

According to its full year results for the 52 weeks ended 2 July 2022, group sales fell 7.3% to £2.1bn from £2.3bn in 2021. Compared to pre-pandemic performance (FY20), Very revenue grew 12.6% and Group revenue was up 4.8%.

Very retail sales declined 7.7% to £1.4bn from £1.5bn in 2021, but grew 15.3% on a two-year basis, while Littlewoods sales fell 19.1% to £327m from £404.2m year-on-year. Group profit before tax increased 2.2% to £63.9m from £62.5m last year.

Home sales declined 22.3% to £236.7m from £309.4m against strong prior year comparatives in all major furniture categories, with sales representing 12% of overall group revenue – down from 15% in 2021. This was a decline of £72.7m year-on-year.

Very said active customers represented 4.41m in the year, down 8.5%, while average order value increased 2.7% to £144.5.

On sustainability, with a particular focus on its home division, Very said: “We run a furniture take-back scheme with Emmaus, which we launched in the previous financial year. After successfully working with Emmaus for over a year, we have plans to make the scheme more apparent to customers while they are shopping. Alongside this, we will look at ways we can offer take-back schemes on other products and packaging.

“In home and living, our focus has been on enhancing the sustainability of our timber ranges, and we work with both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Alongside this, we continue to use BCI cotton in our home ranges and have started to introduce recycled polyester.

“We recognise the need to help our buying, design, and sourcing teams better understand the more sustainable raw material options available to them. To support this, we have commissioned Anthesis, a leading sustainability consultancy, to host workshops with the buying teams to explain our sustainable sourcing needs and issues, and to create a sustainable raw materials manual that will guide and support them.”

Ben Fletcher, Chief Financial Officer at The Very Group, commented on the overall performance: “I am pleased to report another robust performance, driven by ongoing structural growth in the Very brand, our integrated business model – which continues to prove resilient as we adapt to changing customer behaviour – and, of course, our amazing people. We also successfully managed costs, achieving a reduction relative to revenue despite inflationary pressures.

“Throughout the year, we were there for millions of families who benefitted from our combination of leading brands and flexible payment options, from the return of fashion for the whole family, to entertaining the kids, updating homes, and accessing the latest games consoles and TVs. We did that while investing in our digital customer experience, modernising our technology, strengthening our Very Pay platform and increasing our product assortment through stockless fulfilment.

“While the rising cost of living and other economic conditions present challenges for all retailers, we’re confident in our resilient and adaptable business model – which combines multicategory online retail with flexible ways to pay. We now turn our attention to delivering an amazing Christmas for the families we serve.”

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