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Barclay family mulls Very Group float amid online sales boom

Gaelle Walker
18 January 2021

With online sales expected to continue growing at pace, the Barclay family is reported to be in the early stages of exploring a £3bn-plus flotation of its online retail operation The Very Group.

Online sales have boomed during the Covid19 pandemic’s restrictions and lockdowns, with UK online retail sales in November 2020 up 39% year-on-year according to latest data from the IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

Exploding investor interest in digitally-led retailers had led the Barclay family to examine taking Very to the public markets, Sky News has reported.

A decision about an initial public offering (IPO) of Very Group is not thought to be imminent, but sources close to the family acknowledged that it was under more serious contemplation than at any previous point, Sky News said.

The online shopping giant, which recently returned to profit as sales topped £2bn for the first time in the year ending 30 June 2020, reported strong Christmas trading, with group retail sales (including Littlewoods) up 18.1% in the seven weeks to 25 December 2020.

Revenue, including financial services income, at Very increased 23.3% year-on-year, while overall group revenue grew 15.3% year-on-year to surpass £500m for the period for the first time.

Retail sales at increased by 25.2% year-on-year in the seven weeks up to and including 25 December 2020 to record its best ever Christmas trading period, following 139m website visits, up 49.7% year-on-year.


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