Shop Direct revives Woolworths brand

The initial launch marketing of the re-emergent online store Woolworths.co.uk will be handled by the central marketing team of new owner Shop Direct. The team reports to marketing director Alison Broadhurst.

Broadhurst will add responsibility for the online general value retail brand to her current workload, which includes overseeing marketing for online catalogue retailer Littlewoods.

Shop Direct, the value retail group owned by Daily Telegraph owners the Barclay brothers, announced it had purchased the Woolworths and book publishing brand Ladybird for an undisclosed sum earlier this week.

The group announced that it would relaunch Woolworths as an online-only brand, following the success of a similar move after it bought the Littlewoods brand in 2002.

Analysts’ response to the deal has been mixed. Ian Wood, strategy director at brand agency Landor Associates, says the Woolworths brand has lots of value but will not survive online unless it is clear on what it stands for.

“Potential customers need a reason to type in the website address, they won’t just be passing by,” he says. “They need to put out a clear statement about what they will be offering, and how that will differentiate from the likes of Amazon and Argos.”

However, Kate Stevens, a retail analyst at Planet Retail, says the new owners have been very successful at targeting the “less affluent” online with other brands and should be able to exploit a gap in the market.

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