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.

This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.

Company details
Year2002
Rank5
CompanyShop Direct
ActivityInternet and catalogue retailer
LocationLiverpool
Sales £m1,930
Profit £m58
Year endApr 02
Principal shareholdersMoores family
Staff24,000
Founded1923
Websitewww.shopdirect.com

If applicable:

* Supplied by company † Annualised figure