Making sense of the past seven days
Two items of good news from Woolworths in a week - is this a record?

This morning, the retailer's entertainment supply division, EUK, has unveiled a deal with Asda worth£200 million. And, as we report in this week's issue (Retail Week, May 25), the core variety store chain's launch of its Worth It value brand has got off to a storming start.

Despite all the hand-wringing when EUK lost an important Tesco contract, it has more than made up the difference and shows every sign of thriving.

Although on a much smaller scale - it is still early days - the successful debut of Worth It is the most interesting development from a retail point of view.

If customers continue to lap up the range, it will help Woolworths re-establish its value credentials and give it some ammunition against the supermarkets.

It is the second big strategic retailing initiative undertaken by Woolworths in the past year, after its push into multichannel with the Big Red Book. Each is a sign that, against tough odds, the store group is discovering ways of remodelling itself to adapt to changed times, rather than allowing its future to be determined by the success or failure of its rivals.

It's possible to make money as a general merchandiser. Argos at one extreme and Poundland at the other provide ample evidence of that.

Woolies still has big questions to answer. Should it divest stores, becoming a smaller but more profitable firm? Is it all about kids or really a home business?

Resolving such issues will take time, but Woolworths is piloting the sort of initiatives that are sensible whatever the long-term solutions prove to be.

Welcome back, David Jones. Despite his well-known battle against Parkinson's Disease and the blood, sweat and tears he expended overhauling Morrisons' board, the veteran retailer shows no sign of wanting to take a well-earned rest.

Littlewoods turns over£1.8 billion a year and, under chief executive Mark Newton-Jones, has been reinventing itself for the digital era. It's a bit like Woolworths - one of the best-known names in retail, but one that has lost much of its consumer kudos.

Jones's appointment as chairman of Littlewoods Shop Direct represents a return to his retailing roots in the home shopping business. It's hard to think of anyone who'd be a better choice to guide Littlewoods through its turnaround.

Newton-Jones previously worked at Next, the fashion group that Jones saved from disaster in the 1980s. Will this retail reunion result in the creation of a business as influential in the coming decades as Next has been in the past few?