UK: Littlewoods Repositions Itself As 'Value' Retailer
UK retailer, Littlewoods, is cutting prices and shedding 250 head office jobs in a major shake-up which will also see it leasing six new stores from C&A. The chain has announced it is moving into the discount retail market, offering a `value' range to compete with the likes of Matalan and Bhs. Littlewoods says it is re-positioning its home shopping and high street business as a "better value" retailer. The company says it is investing £300m over the next three years in infrastructure improvements, including refurbishing its chain of 120-plus stores and upgrading its call centre systems. But the move will also involve saving £30m over the next 18 months, through job reductions at head office and improved processes. Five members of the executive management team are also leaving the company, as part of the cost-cutting move. Littlewoods Group chief executive, J. M. Barry Gibson, said: "Our markets have changed dramatically and it is time for Littlewoods to restore its position as the company which provides outstanding prices allied to outstanding service. "Streamlining our management and our costs is a necessary element of positioning the company for the future." Customers will be able to choose at what level they shop at in Littlewoods. They will be able to buy a shirt, for example, at £8 in the value range, one for between £10 and £12 in the middle range or one priced between £25 and £30 in the branded top range. Littlewoods is also adding more stores to its portfolio of shops. The company has signed legal agreements to lease six stores and agreed terms for a further two from C&A. The six new stores will be in Leeds, Carlisle, Darlington, Brighton, Altrincham and Telford and are due to join Littlewoods' existing portfolio from January next year.
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