Restructuring Woolworths Group Plc. - The Attempt that Failed


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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR323
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Woolworths Group Plc.
Industry : Retail
Countries : UK

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"The impact of the credit crunch and consumer recession were the final blow to Woolworths, but many believe the retailer's fortunes were in fact decided in the run-up to Woolworths' demerger from Kingfisher in August 2001. And opinion is sharply divided about whether the seeds planted then were of failure or success."1

- George Macdonald, Reporter for Retail Week, an online retail magazine, on December 04, 2008.

Introduction

On November 27, 2008, the UK-based Woolworths Group Plc (Woolworths)2 involved in the retailing, entertainment, and publishing businesses declared that its primary businesses - Woolworths Plc (Woolies), its ailing retail chain, and Entertainment UK (EUK), its wholesale entertainment distribution arm, were being sent into administration3.

The Group's losses had increased significantly to 99.7 million for the half year ended August 02, 2008, as compared to 63.8 million in the corresponding period in 2007.

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1] George MacDonald, "What Went Wrong for Woolworths," www.retail-week.com, December 04, 2008.
2] Woolworths refers to the Mainchain stores of Woolworths Group Plc (Plc is an abbreviation used in the UK, Ireland, and the Philippines to refer to a public limited company), also referred to by the public and the press in the UK as 'Woolies.' In this case, the term Woolworths is used interchangeably to refer to the Group and its core retail arm.
3] In the UK, when a company is unable to repay its debts or the liabilities exceed the assets on its balance sheet, it is referred to as balance sheet insolvency. In such cases, the company either liquidates or the court appoints an administrator to act on behalf of the beneficiaries, including the employees though banks interests are given priority.


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