Woolworths lives again, but only on the internet
Tuesday 03 February 2009
Woolworths is to be relaunched as an online business this summer after the brand was bought by Shop Direct Group in a deal that kills any lingering hopes of reviving the pic'n'mix retailer on the high street.
The home shopping retailer Shop Direct, which is owned by the Barclay brothers, the business tycoons, has also bought the childrenswear brand Ladybird from Woolworth Group. It is likely to have paid millions of pounds for each brand, but declined to provide figures. Last month, Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, acquired the Chad Valley toy brand from Woolworths for £5m.
Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Shop Direct, formerly known as Littlewoods Shop Direct, said: "It [the product offer] will be more targeted than the previous offer. It will definitely have childrenswear and definitely have entertainment, but I really don't think we will be selling washing up bowls and light bulbs."
The sale of the Woolworths brand is the final nail in the coffin of ex-directors and investors who had tried tosalvage a small high-street business from the wreckage of the 800-storeretail chain, which collapsed into administration at the end of November. All of Woolworths' stores had closed by early January. Tony Page, the former Woolworths commercial director, was reported to have secured backing and made an offer to Deloitte last week for the Woolworths brand, but his hopes were dashed.
Sir Geoff Mulcahy, who ran Woolworths for two decades, also held talks with Ardeshir Naghshineh, Woolworths' biggest shareholder, about a possible rescue plan.
Yesterday, Shop Direct relaunched Woolworths.co.uk, asking consumers to register and give their feedback about what they liked or disliked about Woolworths. Mr Newton-Jones said: "Woolworths is a much-loved brand thatengenders huge affection among British consumers."
Separately, Deloitte, the administrator to Woolworths, was scheduled to hold a creditors' meeting at Alexandra Palace, north London, today. Last night the accountancy firm said the meeting would go ahead, despite the severe snowfall in the capital.
The creditors to the company include 27,000 staff and about 500 businesses which are owed money by Woolworths Group.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...