The Very online retail brand is in most respects identical to Littlewoods, its sister business in the Shop Direct portfolio: both are effectively online department stores powered by a financial services offer. "The brand is the only thing that separates the two," Neil Henderson, CEO of the St Luke's agency, told the IPA's Effectiveness Week conference (London, October 2017). But it's quite a gulf and one that is getting bigger as Very is seen as the growth engine for Shop Direct.

"Over 95% of all trade that goes through Shop Direct is done through a credit account - that's what makes us different," explained Kenyatte Nelson, group marketing director at Shop Direct. "It's at the heart of our corporate purpose: make good things easily accessible to more people."

Back in 2010, Shop Direct decided that Littlewoods, a staid catalogue shopping brand that had shifted online, wasn't best placed to be a beacon of innovation and to attract new more savvy consumers who were comfortable with a range of online shopping options and using comparison sites to get better deals.