Supermarket group Morrisons’ acquisition of online specialist Kiddicare looks like an inspired deal.
Supermarket group Morrisons’ acquisition of online specialist Kiddicare looks like an inspired deal. At a stroke, the £70m purchase takes the grocer - an online laggard with no etail business until now - into the multichannel age. It also gives Morrisons purchase in a hard-fought but growing market category and bolsters its non-food offer without recourse to the opening of hypermarkets that typified grocers’ entry into general merchandise in the past.
Add to that up-to-the minute technology systems and an experienced management team that will stay under the new ownership and it adds up to a smart strategic move.
Category rivals such as Mothercare will be unsettled. And Morrisons’ grocery competitors will sit up and take notice. New kid on the block Dalton Philips has taken things slowly since his arrival at Morrisons last year, but Tuesday’s deal shows he has not been idle. The Kiddicare deal is probably the shape of things to come.
Blacks still faces an uphill struggle
The turnaround of Blacks seems to be a Sisyphean task. Under the leadership of Neil Gillis there has been some evidence of improvement although a CVA and fundraising were necessary along the way.
But now Gillis is leaving, a decision that came within days of the collapse of sale talks. Last week Blacks’ house broker Singer increased its loss forecasts and there remain many questions about where the retailer goes next. The company history section on Blacks’ website appears not to have been updated for 10 years. That is perhaps a more eloquent testament to developments in the period than any timeline could be.
Almost since the departure of former boss Simon Bentley, who suffered a near-fatal accident in 2000, Blacks has been in trouble of one sort or another.
Whoever puts on the big boots at Blacks still has a mountain to climb.
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