Originally founded as a football pools business in 1923 by Sir John Moores, 95% of Littlewoods’ sales now come from its 250 high-street stores and its mail order catalogue business. It sold its football pools and other betting interests for a reported £161m in 2000 to Sportech. The Moores family still owns 100% of the Liverpool-based company, which claims to have the second largest home shopping business in the UK, selling through its mail order catalogues and the internet. However, the 40-strong Moores family, now represented on the Littlewoods board by James Suenson-Taylor, the grandson of the founder, are currently reported to be considering a sale of the stores, retaining only the more profitable mail order business. Adding personal finance to its retail operations through a joint venture with the Woolwich in 1999, Littlewoods reported sales of £1.9bn and operating profits of £58m in 2002 and had 24,000 staff.

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Company details
CompanyShop Direct
ActivityInternet and catalogue retailer
Sales £m1,930
Profit £m58
Year endApr 02
Principal shareholdersMoores family

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure