We’ve been around for a long time. In fact, we can chart our history all the way back to 1890 when Kay & Company was founded.
Our longest standing retail brand, Littlewoods, started life in Liverpool in 1932 as a catalogue retailer that let customers shop from the comfort of their homes and spread the cost of purchases.
The first high street store opened its doors in 1937 and, at its height, Littlewoods had around 22,000 workers in stores across the country. Our owners, the Barclay family, acquired Littlewoods in 2002. In 2003, they went on to acquire rival Manchester-based catalogue retailer, Great Universal Stores, merging the two businesses together to form one retail giant, Shop Direct.
80 years in home shopping, coupled with different ways to spread the cost, gave us an edge in the impending digital age. With this as our shareholders’ focus, the business was transformed over the following decade into a digital retailer. We sold our stores, merged our old-fashioned catalogue brands, redesigned processes and improved the experience for our customers.
With our department store range of famous brands, data and technology capabilities, and unique financial services products, we are ideally placed to deliver on our purpose – to make good things easily accessible to more people. You can read more about that here.