Some good news for all you pick 'n' mix fans out there: Woolworths is to relaunch online.
After the high street chain collapsed late last year, Shop Direct, which also owns catalogue firms Littlewoods and Kays, has reportedly paid an undisclosed sum for rights to the Woolies brand. The plan is to relaunch the store as an online shopping business in the summer.
According to a message posted on Woolworths.co.uk in the early hours of 2 February, the store will be "back soon". Although the Woolies site is now "undergoing essential maintenance", the original message can be viewed from Google's cache.
"We've got high hopes and big ideas for the Woolworths we want to bring back to you!", the message reads.
It goes on to request feedback from visitors on "what you liked most (or disliked!) about Woolworths so we can make sure we'll be even better when we return". The page includes a comment box and space to leave an email address to be updated on the latest Woolworths news.
Whether Woolies fares any better as a web-only store remains to be seen. In its old incarnation it had an accompanying web site and catalogue division but this area of the business lost the firm around £10m per year. Woolies online will also continue to face tough competition from supermarket giants such as Tesco and Asda, which offer huge discounts in-store and through their web sites.
Furthermore, new owner Shop Direct is going through an organisational restructure to focus more closely on its online business, which currently accounts for 56 per cent of overall sales, up from only 18 per cent three years ago. As part of these plans, 1,150 jobs are under threat, so it doesn't look like many - if any - of the ex-Woolworths employees will be in line for a post at the new company.
And then of course there's the problem that pick 'n' mix, that staple of the Woolworths brand, might not have the same appeal as an online shopping proposition. Where's the joy in having someone else picking out all the sweets for you, Sneak wonders.
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