// Very Group sales fell 1.3% year on year in the seven weeks to 23 December
// The Very Group boss Lionel Desclée warns of challenges for “all retailers” in the year ahead
Very Group sales dipped 1.3% over the key Christmas period despite strong demand for toys and beauty products.
Sales at core group Very edged up 2.2% in the seven weeks to 23 December, or up 19.6% against pre-pandemic levels, however when legacy Littlewoods is included, group retail sales fell into negative territory.
Very said it increased its share of the total UK non-food online retail market to 7.8% with toys, gifts and beauty among its best performers.
Toy sales over the Christmas period skyrocketed 26% year on year at Very.co.uk, while beauty and fragrance sales jumped 12.7%.
Calvin Klein Eternity Moment, and PlayStation 5 games console were among its top sellers.
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Despite weakened demand for large ticket items, home sales advanced 10.2% with furniture sales up 14.4% and homeware rose 11.2%.
However, fashion sales slipped 6.6% though menswear and womenswear sales were both up.
Electricals nudged up 1.3% led by home appliances, which jumped 20.6% on last year. The Ninja Foodi Max Dual Zone air fryer was among its top sellers.
The Very Group chief executive Lionel Desclée said: “We recorded year-on-year growth in Very and grew market share despite the challenging backdrop.”
“As expected, our customers prioritised toys, gifts, and beauty items for their loved ones, justifying our decision to invest in stock within the category.”
Desclée said its strong supply chain and delivery capability helped it achieve sales growth.
“Our performance was underpinned by our trusted supplier and delivery partner relationships and our highly automated fulfilment centre, Skygate, which allowed us to meet our customers’ expectations throughout the festive period.”
However, Desclée warned on challenges for “all retailers” in the year ahead as the cost of living crisis starts to bite.
He said the group was confident its online retail and flexible ways to pay will “continue to offer customers the convenience, value and flexibility they need”.