Shop Direct's Very Exclusive website to be folded into Very offer
Shop Direct is to shut down its Very Exclusive affordable luxury standalone site and will migrate the offer to its fashion and general merchandise ‘digital department store’, Very, from this autumn. The move is “designed to enable customers to shop its entire fashion range in one place.”
Shop Direct launched fashion and beauty site Very Exclusive in 2015, with the aim of “democratising luxury fashion by combining premium brands with its unique ways for customers to spread the cost.”
It was spearheaded by Sarah Curran, who had founded e-tailer My Wardrobe, another site that before it closed had aimed to offer a more affordable vision of luxury than major players such as Net-A-Porter and MyTheresa. But Curran left Shop Direct almost a year ago, and that exit, plus the departure of Shop Direct’s CEO, left a big question mark over Very Exclusive’s future.
The question has now been removed with the Very Exclusive closure plan, although it appears that the operation wasn’t underperforming at the company. The Very brand as a whole is a major success story and is Shop Direct’s top performer. On Monday it said that since launch, the Exclusive operation “has driven year-on-year growth in sales, margin and profitability.”
So why the change? The company said that migrating the premium proposition “to the much larger Very site will make brands more readily accessible to its 2.6 million-strong customer base.”
Very Exclusive currently stocks 90 high-end fashion brands from designer names such as Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood, to premium high-street stalwarts such as Karen Millen, Whistles and LK Bennett.
The big question is whether these brands will be happy to sit as part of the main Very offer, although it’s undeniable that Very’s success will be a big part of its pitch to get them to stay. And after all, Shop Direct as a whole is the UK’s second largest pureplay digital retailer, with annual sales of £1.93 billion, a fact that can’t be ignored.
As mentioned, Shop Direct plans to transition Very Exclusive into Very in the coming autumn/winter season “with Very to take over as the home of the group’s premium brand proposition in time for spring/summer 2019.”
Sam Perkins, group product director at the firm, said: “Very Exclusive has played an important role in broadening the range of premium fashion brands we’re able to offer our customers. At the same time, Very has continued to grow strongly thanks to its compelling proposition and clear customer appeal. Now is therefore the right time to consolidate our fashion proposition by bringing together our premium brand relationships with the scale, power and customer base of Very.”
Perkins added that the move “will allow us to sharpen our focus on our core customer and our core business, and to channel our investment more effectively. We see huge potential benefits from this move for our customers, our business and the brands themselves.”
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