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Woolworths to return online

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The joint administrators to Woolworths plc have announced the sale of the Woolworths brand name and the Ladybird childrenswear brand to Shop Direct Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Shop Direct Group is the UK's largest online and home shopping retailer and is the owner of Littlewoods, Kays and other traditional catalogue brands. Littlewoods had a highly successful Christmas shopping period, with internet sales up by 44% in the six weeks to January 2, and online now accounts for 56% of the group's total sales. The company has also announced in the past month, though, that it is closing a major call centre, putting 1,150 jobs at risk.

Shop Direct Group plans to re-launch Woolworths as an online store selling a range of products including the Ladybird children's label. The new-style Woolies is due to open in mid-2009.
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