Lion lies down with the Woolies lamb

We've been told for some years that the 21st century would herald a new era of co-opetition in UK. Businesses that had spent decades trying to slit each other's throats would get together and co-operate on projects. The lion would lie down with the lamb in pursuit of a mutual commercial benefit. This has happened but very rarely in retailing, which is probably the single most ruthless sector in Britain, where the high street is a bloody, body-strewn battleground.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Now we hear that the struggling Woolworths chain is getting into bed with Asda in a deal that will allow it to supply CDs, games and DVDs to the powerful Wal-Mart subsidiary. Just to show how mighty Asda is, the agreement will add a remarkable £200m to Woolies' turnover. The news comes at at time when Baugur, the buccaneering Icelandic group and Woolies' largest shareholder, is showing signs of impatience with the Woolworths management. Top execs, including Trevor Bish-Jones, have been told bluntly to ‘get their act together'.

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