The Very Group hires former Walmart VP as Chair after strong Christmas period

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Online retail provider The Very Group has reported a strong festive period including Black Friday, and appointed a new Chair, Dirk Van den Berghe.

The operator of Very.co.uk and Littlewoods has issued its trading results for the seven weeks up until Christmas Eve, revealing that retail sales grew by 21.9% compared to the same period two years ago.

"Very recorded outstanding double-digit growth compared with the pre-pandemic festive season in 2019, as our customers enjoyed a more ‘normal’ Christmas," said CEO Henry Birch.

Across its four key product categories, the retailer reported growth compared to 2019 in the double digits - with electricals up 28.2%, homeware up 24.5%, fashion and sport up 17.7%, and developing categories up 12.2%.

Compared with 2020, electricals and home were down - as these categories returned to a more normal state following demand peaks driven by COVID.

It has also brought on-board Dirk Van den Berghe, former Executive Vice President and Regional Chief Executive for Asia and Global Sourcing at Walmart, as non-executive Chair. Van den Berghe also has experience on the board of organisations including JD.com and Flipkart Group, and joined Walmart in 2014.

There, he oversaw the multinational retailer's business in Canada, China, India and Japan, as well as Walmart Global Sourcing, its integrated supply chain.

“It is a privilege to become the Chair of The Very Group," said Dirk Van den Berghe. "The business has transformed into a digital leader in the UK and Ireland, and is ideally positioned to benefit from increasing consumer demand for both online shopping and flexible payments.

"I look forward to working closely with the board to deliver profitable growth over the years ahead.”

As part of its trading update, The Very Group also reported that its fulfilment automation had been successful - with its fastest order of 2021 processed and dispatched by the automated Skygate fulfilment centre in 18-and-a-half minutes.

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