Appreciate expects pre-Christmas growth

Liverpool savings, vouchers and rewards business Appreciate Group says it expects business to grow in the run up to Christmas as people tighten their belts. Tony McDonough reports

Appreciate Group offers the Love2shop multi-retailer voucher


Appreciate Group says it expected more consumers and businesses to turn to its rewards and vouchers products this Christmas as the cost-of-living crisis hit incomes.

Based in Liverpool city centre, Appreciate offers Christmas savings, vouchers and corporate rewards. Formerly known as Park Group the business was traditionally focused on Christmas hampers but has changed significantly in recent years.

Now a major part of its operation is working with companies to help them offer rewards to both staff and customers. Its best-known product is the Love2shop gift platform which can be used with around 200 leading retailers and consumer brands.

Employers signing up to Love2shop can offer discounts to either staff or customers. In a trading update on Tuesday ahead of its AGM, stock market-listed Appreciate said the squeeze on incomes is leading more people to look for ways of saving money.

Love2shop can already be used with businesses including Marks & Spencer, Wilko, Iceland, Halfords, Matalan, Argos, Costa, Harvester, Tui and Jet2Holidays. In its current financial year Appreciate has added 22 new partnerships to Love2shop. It has also sent 53 exclusive value adding offers to its customers.

In June Appreciate revealed full-year profits for the 12 months to March 31 had hit £8.4m. This was ahead of marker expectations. Revenues for the year came in at £123.3m – up 15.4%, a clear sign of its recovery from the pandemic.

In its latest trading update, the company said it had prioritised driving profitable billings within its high street vouchers (consumer) business ahead of volumes. It added: “Our focus in Appreciate Business Services’ (corporate) market continues to be on improving the retention levels for corporate clients while increasing the number of new clients purchasing from us for the first time.

“This sets up the group strongly for its key trading period in the lead up to Christmas. Our Park Christmas Savers business is trading strongly and in-line with expectations, underpinned by our highest level of agent and direct customer retention rates.

“The new Park Christmas Savers 2023 campaign launched earlier this month and we remain confident that this channel can return to growth.

In August Appreciate appointed Julian Coghlan as interim chief executive. Mr Coghlan replaces Ian O’Doherty who left the business in July. A search for a permanent chief executive is ongoing.

Guy Parsons, executive chair of Appreciate Group, said on Tuesday: “We have already identified and implemented some immediate changes around how we communicate the savings that recipients of a Love2shop product can benefit from.

“And we have evaluated net profit by channel to drive the most profitable billings, as well as ensuring that we are earning a suitable risk adjusted return from the large sums held on deposit.

“In the coming months, we will be working to accelerate the simplification of the business, which is intended to enhance earnings in the medium term. I expect to be able to make further announcements in due course on progress with these plans.”

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