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|Industry||Mail order, Football pools|
|Fate||Merged with Kays Catalogues|
|Successor(s)||Littlewoods Shop Direct Group|
|Key people||Sir John Moores (Founder)
David and Frederick Barclay (Final Owners)
It started as a shopping catalogue company, processing orders by post in the early 1970s. In 1981, it expanded to a call centre, processing orders via telephone. At its height, there were about 4,000 employees working for Littlewoods. However, the catalogue market was transformed with the emergence of the internet, and phone transactions slowly diminished after the mid-1990s. It was around this time that Littlewoods began closing its stores, with the outlet at Merry Hill in the West Midlands being one of the first outlets to close in 1996.
Littlewoods was among the leading retailers who relocated from town centre stores to new developments, mostly in Enterprise Zones, to take advantage of the financial incentives that the zones offered. The Merry Hill store, opened on 14 November 1989, was a notable example, replacing the store in Dudley, but that store did not close until January 1990, after its replacement had opened.
In October 2002, the Moores family sold the shopping and catalogue business to David and Frederick Barclay for £750m. In 2004 Littlewoods was merged with Kays Catalogues to create the Littlewoods Shop Direct Group (now Shop Direct Group). The amalgamation of the two businesses led to the closure of many of both brands' distribution centres. Kays main centres in Worcester and Leeds were closed, while Littlewoods main operations in Liverpool were cut back.
The closure of its 126 stores was announced on 19 April 2005.
Many of the Littlewoods high-street shops were subsequently sold to Primark. A few stores were sold to Argos, the only competitor to Littlewoods Index company.
The Littlewoods Building in Liverpool, the former headquarters of Littlewoods.
- O'Neill, D. "Sherman brothers should not be forgotten; Time to remember", South Wales Echo, 19 November 2001
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