Shop Direct appoints ex-Clarks president at CFO

Shop Direct Very

Shop Direct has appointed former European president of Clarks Shoes, Ben Fletcher, as group CFO.

He joins the online shopping giant, parent of Very and Littlewoods, on 6 January 2020 and reports to its CEO Henry Birch.

Fletcher joins Clarks in 2017 heading up its £1bn-revenue, 9,000 colleague-strong European business, which spans retail and wholesale. He was responsible for customer-centric investments including a new European fulfilment centre.

Prior to Clarks he was with Walgreens Boots Alliance for six years, most recently as managing director of Boots Opticians.

A non-executive board member at the British Retail Consortium, Fletcher will lead Shop Direct’s 150-strong finance team. He will assume the position currently held on an interim basis by Dominic Appleton, who will remain with Shop Direct as finance director.

Birch said: “Ben is an outstanding finance and general management leader, who has consistently delivered growth across large and complex consumer businesses. He’s proven to be customer and colleague-focused, with significant experience in online. He’ll play a vital part as we invest to be the number one destination for shoppers who value a combination of leading brands and flexible ways to pay.”

“I would also like to thank Dominic Appleton for his significant contribution to Shop Direct and am delighted that he will continue to play a pivotal role for us.”

Fletcher added: “Shop Direct is an ambitious business with an outstanding history and an exciting future. Its transformation to date has been industry-leading, but there’s still work to do. I’m excited to be joining a business that’s at the centre of retail, financial services and digital, and squarely focused on understanding and serving its customers even better.”

He joins at a challenging time for the business as it revealed last month that it losses had spiral due to having to make an unexpectedly high provision for PPI claims, which rocketed in the lead up to the August deadline. As result its pre-tax losses widened to £185.5m after it  made a provision of £241m to cover customer redress relating to historical shopping insurance sales.

However it also recorded an increase of 1.8% in group revenue to £1.99 billion, which was driven by a strong performance at flagship brand Very.co.uk. Group EBITDA grew 3.3% to £271m.