Shop Direct Group is the United Kingdom's leading online retailer, and its largest home shopping company. It is based in the Speke area of the city of Liverpool, in Merseyside, England.
Established in November 2005 as a result of a merger of the former Littlewoods and Shop Direct companies, the retailer was known as the Littlewoods Shop Direct Group until a corporate rebranding in May 2008.
A business group trading via several catalogues and websites, Shop Direct traces its roots to a variety of mail order companies in northern England, particularly Littlewoods, the football pools and mail order business founded by John Moores, as well as the Manchester based home shopping business of Great Universal Stores. These companies were purchased by Sir David and Frederick Barclay in 2003, and a major business restructuring took place leading to a merger of two companies that had "been arch rivals for the best part of 100 years".
Since the merger of what had been struggling businesses in 2005, ongoing restructuring and modernisation of the company has resulted in the Shop Direct Group emerging as the leading online retailer within the British Isles. Its traditional paper-based and phone-in orders system has been superseded by electronic commerce technology.
In 2009 Shop Direct Group acquired the brand name of the failed Woolworths, and have stated they plan to amalgamate the business into its existing home shopping network.