With reference to your article last week claiming a U-turn at Virgin over expansion plans, let me say that it is always a surprise to read an article on holiday about a subject which one did not even discuss with the journalist concerned!
Therefore let me put the record straight. Virgin is not engaged in a U-turn over its packaged goods strategy. We are expanding our cola, both in the UK and into new markets in the US, South Africa and Europe.
This year will also see the launch of more Virgin Vie cosmetics stores, Virgin Clothing and an expansion of the Virgin Cinemas, Virgin Direct, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains operations.
As I said to the journalist, we are not planning any other major business launches this year (the above is quite sufficient), but our early experience with packaged goods is encouraging, despite the best efforts of our competitors to rubbish our strategy.
Corporate Affairs Director
Virgin Group of Companies
There seems ample evidence from Will Whitehorn’s own testimony, quoted in the article, that Virgin is treading carefully. Nevertheless, “Branson culls expansion plans” could have been better construed as “Branson culls brand extension plans” in the caption heading the story – Editor.