Woolworths mulls global Chad Valley franchises

Woolworths is considering licensing its Chad Valley toy brand worldwide, following the success of the formula with its Ladybird brand.

Chad Valley turns over about£70 million a year and is seen as a great asset by Woolworths, which aims to capitalise upon it.

Woolworths chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones said that licensing would be a logical step to take, given how Ladybird has worked elsewhere.

He said: 'Ladybird is a nice, tidy business for us and we're having conversations about whether we do the same for Chad Valley. If you wanted a one-stop shop for children's toys, we are the only brand that covers all the product sectors.'

He added that Chad Valley product could be supplied to other retailers under licence to sell in their shops, or establish a franchise business through Chad Valley-branded outlets.

He said: 'If someone wanted to do that and take the risk, we'd be happy to supply the product.'

A Woolworths spokeswoman said the retailer had tested Chad Valley licensing in South Africa before Christmas.

There are Ladybird franchise stores in Dublin, but Bish-Jones said the retailer has no plans to open company-owned Ladybird stores.

Woolworths has relaunched Ladybird and invested in improving the product offer. The retailer has also diversified the clothing brand into baby hardware, such as travel cots, which are available in its larger stores.