Alex Baldock has decided to leave Liverpool-headquartered online retail giant Shop Direct after more than five years as chief executive.

Baldock joined the eCommerce business behind digital department stores Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com in September 2012.

He is due to leave next summer to pursue a new challenge.

Baldock said: "I’ve loved my time at Shop Direct. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to lead this exceptional team through such a rapid and far-reaching transformation.

"It’s now time for me to move on to the next challenge, but I will do so with fond memories and full confidence that the business will continue to thrive under new leadership."

News of Baldock’s departure comes just days after Shop Direct revealed that it had enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of record sales.

The company grew revenue by 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £1.93bn for the 12 months to 1st July 2017. Meanwhile, underlying profit before tax increased by 10.2 per cent to £160.4m.

Describing Baldock as a “class act”, chairman Aidan Barclay said: “He’s been pivotal to the remarkable digital transformation of Shop Direct. He’s brought strategic clarity, relentless execution, and inspired his people to get behind him at every step.

“He’ll head off to his next challenge with our very best wishes for, and every confidence in, his future success. In the meantime, I know he and the team will ensure a smooth succession as we continue the transformation of Shop Direct into a world class digital retailer.”