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Barclay family pushes ahead with possible Very Group float

Tom Shearsmith
19 July 2021

With online sales expected to continue growing at pace, the Barclay family has appointed STJ Advisors to prepare The Very Group for a £3 billion-plus flotation in London next year.

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

STJ Advisors, a London firm that specialises in equity capital markets dealings, has been hired to prepare the company for a possible flotation.

Previously known as Shop Direct, Very has its origins in the retailer Littlewoods, which the Barclays acquired for £750 million in 2002. They then bought the GUS home shopping business in 2004 and merged it with the mail order unit of Littlewoods the following year.

For the nine months ending 31 March 2021, Very posted a pre-tax profit of £43.8 million, up from £38 million the same period a year prior, with revenue growing 17% year-on-year to £1.79 billion.

A number of fashion brands and retailers, such as The Hut Group, Seraphine and Dr Martens have confirmed plans to go public in the last year, hoping to see their valuations increase.

Manchester-based The Hut Group, whose brands include Lookfantastic, Coggles, GlossyBox and ESPA began trading on the London Stock Exchange in September 2020 and floated with an initial value of £4.5 billion.

A Very spokesperson declined to comment.

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