Woolworths is to take a step back in time as it introduces the services of the 1960's children's TV favourites Bill and Ben the flowerpot men to promote its children's wear lines.

The high street retailing chain has signed a licensing deal with the BBC Worldwide to use the characters on its new lines of Ladybird children's clothing, the brand bought by the company in a £12m deal in January this year.

The company is hoping that using the popular characters will enable it to edge M&S out of the number one spot for children's wear by attracting former C&A customers into its stores.