Retail group Shop Direct is closing its Woolworths website in a move that could pave the way for a sell-off of the brand name.
- Shop Direct will migrate Woolworths customers to Very.co.uk
- Mike Ashley has already been linked to Woolworths brand name
- Shop direct will retain Ladybird childrenswear brand
The retail group will transfer Woolworths customers’ accounts across to Very.co.uk next month as it seeks to focus on its bigger brands.
Shop Direct bought the Woolworths brand in 2009 to run it as an online-only business after administrators were unable to find a buyer for the whole of the collapsed chain.
The closure of the Woolworths website is leading to speculation that others could swoop in to buy the brand name and Mike Ashley has already been named as a potential suitor.
Shop Direct group chief executive Alex Baldock said: “This decision will help fuel the growth engine of this business, Very.co.uk. It’s a shame to say goodbye to Woolworths, a brand that still holds a place in the heart of every pick ‘n’ mix fan, but our customers are telling us that Very.co.uk is where they want to shop.
“We want to make this a hassle-free transition for our loyal shoppers. Woolworths customers who already shop with Very.co.uk love the brand; we’ll do everything possible to ensure the experience is just as positive for those new to Very.co.uk.”
The decision to shut the Woolworths website comes as Shop Direct’s Very.co.uk business, which launched in 2009, goes from strength to strength.
Woolworths remains Shop Direct’s smallest ecommerce business despite growing “steadily” under its new ownership.
Shop Direct reveals there is a large crossover between the Woolworths and Very.co.uk brands because more than a third of Woolworths customers have a Very.co.uk account.
Shop Direct will redirect investment from Woolworths into driving the expansion of Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com.
The acquisition of the Woolworths brand also brought children’s brand Ladybird into the Shop Direct business.
Shop Direct will keep on the Ladybird brand because it reveals it has helped make its businesses “a destination for mums”. It is now the retail group’s largest childrenswear brand.