This article is about the British online retailer. For the former British stores, see Woolworths Group. For other retailers of similar name, see Woolworth (disambiguation).
Online brand of Shop Direct
Industry eCommerce
Fate  Closed 
Predecessor Woolworths Group (stores)
Founded 27 June 2009
Founder Woolworths Group
Defunct 13 October 2015 (website closed in June 2015)
Headquarters Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay (Owners)
Mark Newton-Jones (Chief Executive)
Products General merchandise
Owner Shop Direct Group
Divisions Woolies Wonderland
Website www.woolworths.co.uk (Ceased in October 2015)
Replaced by www.very.co.uk

Woolworths.co.uk was an online retail website owned by Shop Direct Group, formed in 2009 after Shop Direct bought the rights to the name and website address of the defunct high street retailer Woolworths. The online store opened on 25 June 2009,[1][2] but it closed in June 2015, after six years, to be replaced by Shop Direct's existing brand Very.[3]


Stores in Britain

Main article: Woolworths Group

Woolworths started out in the UK in 1909 as F.W Woolworth & Co, part of the American company that was established in 1879. The first store was on Church Street in Liverpool and sold children's clothing, stationery and toys from the very beginning. Woolworths took off in the mid-1920s with stores opening as often as every two to three weeks.[4] By 2008 there were 807 Woolworths stores.

Woolworths return as an online retailer

In November 2008 Woolworths Group entered administration with Deloitte, and by early January 2009 all of its stores had closed. Woolworths' financial performance had been declining in the previous few years, and the events of the closure coincided with the financial crisis and recession which was occurring at the time.

On 2 February 2009, a month after the last Woolworths stores closed, it was announced that the Woolworths brand in the UK, as well as the Ladybird clothing brand had been bought by Shop Direct Group, who are the owners of companies such as Littlewoods, Kays and Great Universal.[5] The Times estimated that they would have paid between £5 million and £10 million for the brand.[2] Shop Direct Group announced their intention to restart the Woolworths brand as an online retailer by the summer of 2009.[6] The website used the same URL as Woolworths had used under the Woolworths Group,[7] and as of February 2009 Shop Direct were seeking input from the public about what they wanted the site to be like. It is also believed that a catalogue may follow.[8] Woolworths also launched an Easter egg website, called Woolies Wonderland, for Easter 2009.[9]

On 25 June 2009, woolworths.co.uk reopened with in excess of half a million products on offer.


Main article: Ladybird (clothing)

Ladybird is a brand of clothing for children aged 0–13 years, that is sold by the Shop Direct Group on the Woolworths website. On 1 February 2009, Shop Direct purchased the Ladybird brand and whole rights from the administrators of Woolworths Group.[10] The brand has a history which dates back to a trading partnership beginning in 1934 between the original firm Adolf Pasold & Son[11] and Woolworths.


  1. "Woolworths returns as an internet business after high street stores were a victim of the recession | Business | Sky News". News.sky.com. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  2. 1 2 Judge, Elizabeth; Leroux, Marcus (2 February 2009). "Woolworths to return online in surprise deal". London: The Times. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  3. "Shop Direct closes Woolworths site as brand name sell-off speculation begins". retail-week.com.
  4. Lavan, Rosie (26 November 2008). "A history of Woolies: 99 years of pic 'n' mix". London: The Times. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  5. "Administrators announce sale of Woolworths brand". Deloitte. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  6. "Woolworths is to be reborn online". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  7. retailerIdviewsearchText (2010-12-14). "Full of toys, entertainment, kids clothing, party ideas & pic n' mix". Woolworths.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  8. Laurance, Ben (2 February 2009). "Woolies lives to sell again - over the net". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  9. "Warning shot fired at Alworths". Retrieved 7 April 2009.
  10. Goodman, Matthew; Walsh, Kate (1 February 2009). "Littlewoods owner Shop Direct snaps up Ladybird". London: The Times. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  11. Pasold history Retrieved 18 November 2009 Archived January 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
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