Woolworths has bought the rights to the Ladybird clothing brand from Coats Viyella and aims to use it as a springboard to become a major childrenswear retailer.
The Kingfisher-owned chain had exclusive rights to the brand and has been designing clothing under the Ladybird name since 1984.
Following the Ladybird acquisition, for an undisclosed multi-million pound figure, Woolworths intends to invest in the brand, develop new ranges and increase existing ranges to modernise the brand’s look.
A spokesman for Woolworths was unable to say when new ranges would appear or what kind of marketing push would accompany the new-look Ladybird brand.
The Ladybird promotional strapline is “Outgrown before outworn”.
Woolworths’ marketing and commercial director Ken Lewis says: “Many customers visit Woolworths just to buy the Ladybird childrenswear because it is fashionable, practical and great value.
“This acquisition provides us with a major springboard to become a truly dominant force in childrenswear.”
The children’s clothing market is worth £3.4bn in the UK in the 12-year-olds and under sector. The Ladybird brand has a market share of 6.5 per cent and offers 1,500 lines, ranging in price from £1.99 to £29.99.
The Ladybird company was founded in the late 1600s in Bohemia. Woolworths secured its first order from the company in 1932. Its first childrenswear was sold at Harrods in 1932.