Shop Direct to close Littlewoods Clearance operation
Shop Direct, the owner of Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, is proposing to close its standalone clearance operation Littlewoods Clearance.
The offering comprises seven UK stores branded ‘The Outlet’, websites including ‘Bargain Crazy’, and a Bolton fulfilment centre and head office team.
The move will affect 143 permanent employees with whom Shop Direct will soon enter into a period of consultation. It will also impact six agency staff.
If the proposals go ahead, Shop Direct expects to make redundancies which are likely to be completed by the end of February 2019.
Littlewoods Clearance sells unsold stock from Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk.
Sam Perkins, group retail director at Shop Direct, said: “While it has been successful in clearing unsold stock for many years, our standalone operation Littlewoods Clearance is expensive to run and is losing money. Aware of this, and the need to continue our digital transformation, which has seen us remove the catalogue and consolidate brands in recent years, we reviewed alternative options for clearance.”
Perkins said the group had found the most efficient way to sell unsold stock was in bulk to third parties and that the closure of clearance operation would free up funds to invest more in Shop Direct’s digital capabilities and allow it to focus on its core online business.
He added: “The proposal to close Littlewoods Clearance is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary for our business. Our priority is to provide a fair outcome for our team and we’ll do everything we can to support potentially impacted colleagues. The company’s recognised trade union, Usdaw, is aware of the proposals, and we are keeping them updated on progress.”
The sites affected by the closure would include a head office and fulfilment centre in Bolton, and stores in Bulwell, Ebbw Vale, Flint, Heckmondwike, Llandudno, Newton and Wisbech.
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