Woolies to expand

  • In an update to our post of February 2009 about the re-launch of Woolworths, it was interesting to read in Retail Week this week that Woolworths.co.uk has 'delivered on target' after one year of trading.

    Now its owner, Shop Direct, plans to expand the ladybird brand to include toys, nursery and toiletry ranges. It is also considering selling through shop franchises or under licence.

    Toys and a nursery range make perfect sense for the ladybird brand, but toiletries? Surely this is a brand stretch too far.

    We correctly predicted in 2009 that the future for Woolworths was on-line and yet the owners seemingly can't resist a return to the High Street. The difference this time is that they're not doing it at their risk, but at the risk of franchisees. This should be a clue.

    Potential franchise holders must take a serious look at why Woolworths failed on the High Street and have a strategy for avoiding the same pitfalls before parting with their cash. (They can read our post of December 2008 if they need a reminder).

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