Woolworths lives again, but only on the internet

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there