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


Asia facing up to increased competition

Increasing competition for garment sourcing contracts is seeing China not only being challenged by other countries in Asia, but by sub-Saharan African and even Russian suppliers too. And it is pushing...


Cambodia raises garment worker wages

The monthly minimum wage for workers in Cambodia's textile, garment and footwear sector is set to rise to $153 from January next year, following a vote on the issue last week. The increase marks a ris...


Sportswear initiatives start to take shape

The results of two highly-anticipated initiatives in the sportswear sphere were revealed last week: the launch of Under Armour’s new UAS lifestyle brand and the first pair of running shoes created at ...


Hanjin Shipping collapse triggers fear of West Coast port repeat

The recent bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping, the world's seventh-largest container shipper, at the end of August, has left billions of dollars worth of merchandise in limbo, leaving the fal...

just-style homepage

Forgot your password?