Woolworths to be reborn online today

Retail brand Woolworths is to be revived online today by home shopping firm Shop Direct.

Retail brand Woolworths is to be revived online today by home shopping firm Shop Direct.

The online multibrand retailer bought the Woolworths brand in February after the 100-year-old high street version collapsed financially.

Woolworths.co.uk has been developed around the four most popular product categories of toys, children's wear, entertainment and party goods.

The online store will even include a version of the famous Woolworths "pic n'mix" sweets, now called "click n' mix."

"From acquiring the brand to launch it has been only 20 weeks, which is something you could never achieve with a high street business but can do online," said Mark Newton-Jones, group chief executive at Shop Direct.

Although the site is aimed at capturing as much of the feel of the original family store with everything in one place, it will sell a bigger selection of goods.

The online store is to sell over half a million products, but many product categories will double in size between now and Christmas, said Newton-Jones.

The site will be made up of the Main Shop, Entertainment Shop and Party Shop. Each will have separate checkouts at first, but these will be integrated by the end of the year.

Woolworths.co.uk is re-launching Ladybird, a brand also owned by Shop Direct, which is aimed at children under eight.

The store also plans to introduce clothing, footwear and sportswear for older children in the coming months.

Newton-Jones predicts that Woolworths.co.uk would make a profit in its first full-year of operation, but did not make any specific forecasts.

He hopes Woolworths.co.uk will challenge to pure-play online retailers such as Amazon.com in entertainment.

The Entertainment Shop will offer games, DVDs and CDs, which will all be available for free delivery, he said.

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