The Very Group faced a challenging market this year but demonstrated resilience in its performance. Despite experiencing flat revenues and a drop in pre-tax profits, the digital retailer remained positive and attributed its success to its market-beating top-line growth. While fashion sales declined, the sales of casual wear and beauty products helped to keep the company afloat.

Very UK saw a 1.9% increase in revenues, reaching £1.82 billion, while overall group revenue remained stable at £2.15 billion. The strong performance of Very Finance, which experienced a revenue growth of over 6% to reach £422 million, played a significant role in maintaining this stability. However, the company did face challenges with rising funding costs, which increased by a staggering 43.5% in FY23, impacting its pre-tax profit.

Adjusted EBITDA for the group slightly decreased from £291.4 million to £276.5 million, mainly due to pricing investment and cost inflation. However, effective cost management and the strong performance of Very Finance helped to offset these declines. Furthermore, the group saw a 9.6% increase in adjusted free cash flow to £128.4 million, which was a positive outcome.

In terms of market share, Very Group outperformed the online non-food retail market during this period. While there was an overall decline of 8.2% in fashion and sports sales, casual womenswear saw a 4.8% increase and casual menswear grew by 1%. The beauty category experienced a significant year-on-year growth of 13% due to strategic price investments, and personal care witnessed a 25% jump.

The success of Very Group can be attributed to its investment in pricing and assortment, particularly in the beauty category. The introduction of the Everyday own-brand range, which offers quality products at affordable prices, contributed to the company’s achievements. Additionally, improvements in the customer experience led to the highest-ever net promoter score for the group.

The company also continued its investments in technology transformation, such as migrating systems to a new e-commerce platform and implementing AI-powered product discovery on its website and app.

Looking ahead, Group CEO Lionel Desclée expressed confidence in the company’s business model, which combines multi-category online retail with flexible payment options. He emphasized the importance of enhancing the digital customer experience and maintaining cost management as vital strategies for future growth.

Industry analysts at GlobalData praised Very Group’s increased investment in AI, believing that it will drive revenue growth and improve profit margins. They also commended the company for effectively navigating the challenging market conditions.

Overall, the resilience of Very Group, its focus on customer experience, and strategic investments in technology and pricing enabled it to overcome a tough year and maintain its position in the market. With a commitment to continued growth, the company remains confident in its ability to meet the needs of its customers.

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