Celebrations as Peterborough's Ideal Shopping Direct returns to profit

Ideal Shopping Direct's chief operating officer Martin Purcell, left, and chief executive Jamie Martin.
Ideal Shopping Direct's chief operating officer Martin Purcell, left, and chief executive Jamie Martin.
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A TV shopping channel in Peterborough is back in the black after new bosses spearheaded a sharp turnaround.

Ideal Shopping Direct, based in Newark Road, has reported it expects profits to reach £5 million for the 12 months to the end of this year.

Total pre-tax turnover is forecast to be £170 million.

The company has also seen a 40 per cent rise in sales in America.

The return to profitability for Ideal Shopping, which now employs 600 people, comes just nine months after new management team were brought in after the businesses had made a £32 million loss in 2018.

The transformation has involved a £4 million investment in new technology, the recruitment of new suppliers for its two main channels, the streamlining of its operations, a new partnership with ITV, growth of its American distribution channels and an overhaul of its main Ideal World brand.

Chief executive Jamie Martin, who has overseen the turnaround with chief operating officer Martin Purcell, said: "This is the biggest turnaround in live home shopping history.

"It has been a year of significant change, experimentation and learning while laying the groundwork for the future.

"Average order value and order frequency is up on last year and all other metrics have begun to plateau bucking the previous aggressive downward trend before I joined the business.

"It’s a simple story of sales up and costs down."

Mr Martin, who vowed to restore the company's fortunes when he took over, said: "We made tough choices to reduce our workforce by 110 people and negotiated new and better deals with suppliers.

"The business has also streamlined various aspects such as changing the way we source in China, cancelling marketing programmes that were not working and spending more money on our digital marketing, all of which have had a material impact on our profitability for the better."

Mr Martin added: "The immediate focus when we took over in December 2018 was to 'stem the bleeding' and stop the freefall of customers, revenue and profitability.

"Now this has been achieved and things are stable, the company will be making further investments into innovation, acquisition and retention in a bid to aggressively narrow the gap to our biggest competitor, QVC UK, which is around twice our size.

"Our unique selling point is demonstrating the products available for sale with presenters who bring a personality to the 'sale' that our customers love."

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