Woolworths could be about to make a return to the high street, this time as a franchise business backed by the buying power of Shop Direct group, the new owners of the Woolworths brand name who successfully relaunched the business online earlier this year.
"In the new year, we will consider approaches from interested third parties," says Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Shop Direct, in The Times. "We believe it could be a successful chain of up to 200 stores, supported by the buying power of the Shop Direct Group."
In February, Shop Direct paid £7 million for the Woolworths brand name and the Ladybird childrenswear brand. The Woolworths.co.uk website was relaunched in June, with a tighter product mix than the old Woolies that excludes homewares and hardware.