Littlewoods loses catalogue business to Argos

Some 3,200 Littlewoods staff will be made redundant after the 20-year-old retail group announced the partial sale of its Index catalogue chain to Argos, following admissions that it could not survive under the shadow of its more successful rival.

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Owned by the billionaire brothers Sir David and Frederick Barclay, the company’s main losses will come from 1,900 staff at its in-store concessions, while the remainder will come from the closure of its Liverpool headquarters, a distribution centre in Moxley in the west midlands, and standalone shops across the UK.

Exactly 793 of Index’s 4,000-strong workforce will transfer to Argos, owned by retail and business services giant GUS, with half of Index’s 66 standalone stores being sold in a deal worth £44m ‘payable in cash upon completion, which is expected to be during July 2005’, a GUS statement said.

Index will close the other 33 stores, as well as 93 Index concessions in its department stores.

GUS said no accountants or advisers were used in the deal, while Littlewoods said that the Barclay brothers had used internal advisers.

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