Woolworths to be relaunched as online store

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The Independent Online

High street brand Woolworths is to be relaunched as an online store after the name was today bought by the UK's biggest internet and home shopping retailer.













Shop Direct - which also owns brands such as the Littlewoods catalogue - plans to launch Woolworths online in the summer following the deal to buy the brand for an undisclosed sum.



The move brings the famous brand under the control of Sir David and Frederick Barclay, whose interests also include the Telegraph newspaper group.







Woolworths was forced into administration late last year after plunging sales and mounting debts, costing 27,000 jobs. The last of its 807 stores closed in January.



But Shop Direct, which has also bought Woolworths' childrenswear brand Ladybird, said it was confident that the store would "stay at the heart of British retailing" as an online presence.



Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "Woolworths is a much-loved brand that engenders huge affection among British consumers and is an important part of the country's retail heritage."



Woolworths first opened its doors in the UK 100 years ago this year. The move would revive the brand for future generations, Mr Newton-Jones added.



Details of the new product ranges to be offered will be announced in the next few months, the company said.



Shop Direct employs around 10,500 people and has around five million customers. Its other well-known catalogue brands include Kays and Marshall Ward.



Woolworths appointed Deloitte as administrators in November after efforts to rescue the business failed. Deloitte was unable to find a buyer for the firm and launched a closing-down sale in December.

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