Shop Direct to resurrect Woolworths online

U.K. retailer went into administration in November

LONDON -- Woolworths, the 100-year-old sweets-to-DVD retailer that collapsed last month, will be reborn as an online store after its brand name was bought by Shop Direct, Britain's biggest home shopping retailer.

Shop Direct, which operates under brands such as Littlewoods and Kays and is owned by entrepreneurial brothers David and Frederick Barclay, said Monday that it had also bought Woolworths' Ladybird children's wear brand.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Woolworths is a much-loved brand that engenders huge affection among British consumers and is an important part of the country's retail heritage," Shop Direct chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said.

"In what will be Woolworths' 100th year, we are proud to be reviving the brand for future generations.

Woolworths went into administration, a form of creditor protection, in November. It closed the last of its 800-plus stores, with the loss of around 27,000 jobs, last month after it failed to find a buyer.

Administrator Deloitte said it was still in talks with several parties about the sale of some of the stores.

Woolworths had been struggling for years amid competition from supermarkets and the Internet and is one of a string of retailers to go out of business in recent months as shoppers curb spending in the economic downturn.

Shop Direct said it aimed to launch the Woolworths online store in the summer.