Home sales down at Very Group; introduces new loan pilot

The Very Group, owners of retail brands Very and Littlewoods, has reported a decline in sales with its Home offering experiencing a downturn in demand.

According to its latest trading update for the 39 weeks ended 2 April 2022, total group sales were down 6.1% to £1.6bn compared to £1.7bn against the same period last year.

Very sales were down 4.2% to £1.3bn, but did increase on a two year comparison by 16.9%. Littlewoods sales were down 14.1% to £295.9m.

“Home revenue decreased by 20.5% following a record year in FY21, as customers continued to shift away from one-off spend on large home items towards a more typical basket, which prioritised clothing and sportswear,” Very Group said.

Looking to bolster its access for consumers to a broader product range, Very Group has announced the introduction of its new personal loans product, which it intends to pilot an expansion of its Very Pay product range, with the trial of personal loans due to start in FY23.

Under the scheme, Very has set up a separate legal entity under The Very Group called VG Consumer Finance (VGCF) and has applied for authorisation from the FCA, which it anticipates ‘will be approved during this calendar year’.

Commenting on the key points in the service, Very said: “In the first half of FY23, we plan to begin the pilot of our personal loans product offering, which will provide customers with access to even more products. The offering will be targeted to a similar credit group to that which TVG currently serves.

“As part of the pilot, we will initially offer loans of £2,500 – £7,500 over 12 to 60 months to existing Very customers. Provided the pilot is successful, we have an ambition to extend the loans to non-Very customers in the following years as well as increasing how much we offer to up to £15,000.

“By diversifying our Very Pay product range, we will increase our relevance to the customer and play a more critical part in their lives whilst diversifying our income stream.”

The Very Group said that its continued focus on earnings and cost control saw underlying EBITDA increase by 8.3% to £231.4m (Q3 FY21: £213.7m), while pre-tax profit increased by 80.9% to £79.2m (Q3 FY21: £43.8) as a result of lower exceptional costs.

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