Blog: Leonie BarrieWoolworths’ woes

Leonie Barrie | 27 November 2008

Perhaps the biggest surprise about UK retailer Woolworths isn’t that it collapsed yesterday (26 November) – but that it took so long. I’ve often wondered what the point of its stores was, and it seems I’m not alone. Sliding sales and a GBP385m debt might have meant the global financial crisis finally pushed the faltering retail giant over the edge, but it has been struggling for years – even when retail sales generally were good.

With a mind-boggling product range in its 800 town centre stores, veering from sweets to garden furniture to video games to plants, it offered a bit of everything but without the depth or value offered by supermarkets or the internet.

More than anything, the group seemed to have lost its way. Some of the plans we’ve reported on just-style to turn the business around have included a new Argos-style catalogue featuring children’s toys and clothes, in-store 'shop in shops' for the Ladybird children’s wear ranges, standalone Ladybird stores, and lowering costs by reducing the amount of packaging used on products.

But it seems at the end of the day, the writing has simply been on the wall for a long, long time.

 

UK: Interest in stores as Woolworths goes into administration


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