Shop Direct has announced plans to open a London hub, which will host staff working across its data, eCommerce, IT, product and brand teams.

The online retailer's 25,000 sq ft space at 111 Buckingham Palace Road, which will open in summer 2017, will have capacity for up to 250 colleagues. The workforce will comprise a mix of new hires, existing colleagues, and some who will split their time between London and the company's head office in Liverpool.

Shop Direct is the parent company of Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and VeryExclusive.co.uk, and the new facility in the English capital will focus on developing the group's mobile and personalisation strategy.

The London hub is expected to help provide the business with a platform for developing new paths in retail technology innovation, including investment in advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as the continued development of advanced IT capabilities, and the expansion of its brand roster and recently launched own label, V by Very.

It will also be the new home of the VeryExclusive.co.uk team, which is currently based in Shop Direct’s Pollen Street showroom.

Commenting on the soon-to-open facility, Alex Baldock, group CEO at Shop Direct, said: "It'll help us attract even more of the best people and get even closer to our existing partners, as well as forge important new partnerships.

"But above all it'll be a place where our colleagues will have the space and facilities to thrive, delivering new innovation every day to help us continue making good things easily accessible to more people."

Last week, Shop Direct announced that it had deployed chat bots within its Very.co.uk iOS app. Mobile shoppers are able to use the new 'Very Assistant' to answer their questions in an instant messaging platform, and the company claims to be the first UK retailer to launch conversational user interface technology for customer service.