Shop Direct Group this week resurrected Woolworths as an e-tailer and vowed to make the venture profitable in its first year of trading.
Shop Direct Group launched Woolworths.co.uk on Thursday with an increased product range but streamlined categories. The retailer has ditched products such as ironing boards, washing-up bowls and light bulbs and has instead grouped lines under four family-focused categories – entertainment, toys, children’s clothing and furnishings, and party.
Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said the range had been tweaked after feedback from about 1 million former shoppers. “There will be about 10,000 lines but across less categories,” he said.
The site will also sell Woolworths’ most famous product line, pick ’n’ mix sweets, and some small “treats” will be posted out with each non-food order too.
Newton-Jones said: “The level of affection for this brand is incredible.” He is confident the site will be a success. and also said that while there are no plans at present, there is no reason why the venture could not be launched in Europe, where Shop Direct will trade some of its online brands from July.
Shop Direct, which bought the brand name and assets from Woolworths’ administrator 20 weeks ago, has also relaunched Woolworths’ children’s clothing and furnishings brand Ladybird. The brand will have 300 product lines initially, increasing to 600 by autumn.
Ladybird will also be cross-sold across Shop Direct’s other home shopping brands and in stores in 10 countries internationally. In the UK, Shop Direct is also considering selling Ladybird in stores as part of a licensing or franchise agreement.
The Woolworths site launched with print ad and viral internet campaigns and a short film for cinemas. It has also sponsored Ice Age 3 and is giving customers the chance to win tickets to the premiere. Shop Direct will also host a 100-year birthday party for Woolworths in November this year.
The site will be in three sections: the main shop, entertainment, and party/pick ’n’ mix. Initially each part of the site will require shopppers to use a separate checkout.