Stroke of Genius as Morrisons Buys Kiddicare

Morrisons has announced the acquisition of Kiddicare, the award winning multi channel online retailer, together with the rights to its highly regarded technology platform, for a total consideration of £70 million.   The acquisition is the first step in developing Morrisons online business. The company will continue to trade separately as kiddicare.com, led by Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright, who will pursue an ambitious growth agenda.
Kiddicare, founded in 1974 by Neville and Marilyn Wright, is the UK’s leading specialist online retailer of baby products.  Turnover in the last full financial year (2010) was £37.5 million and has grown by 75% in the past three years using leading web technology and picking software.  Over 80% of sales are now through the online channel.

While Tesco and Sainbury’s have decided to re-platform to ATG and IBM Websphere Commerce respectively, Morrisons have taken a shortcut and bought a company that has been praised over and over for it’s innovative eCommerce site. More importantly Morrisons also get a team of experts who have done it before. The only question is around the major differences between General Merchandise sites and grocery sites… Can the Kiddicare team adapt their platform to work for food?

Kiddicare owns a new state of the art freehold distribution facility and operates the largest baby nursery equipment retail store in Europe based in Peterborough, comprising 160,000 square feet of warehouse, retail and office space.
Morrisons intends to build its online non-food business, developing the kiddicare.com platform and management team, launching its first products in 2012.
Dalton Philips, Chief Executive of Morrisons, said:
“This acquisition brings not only a respected, successful and fast growing specialist retailer into the Morrisons group but also a robust, scalable and highly advanced technology platform around which we can begin to build our e-commerce offer.
“We are delighted to welcome Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright to Morrisons, along with their team.  They are two of the most talented and respected operators of online retail today and their experience and track record with Kiddicare.com has been outstanding.   Their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as Morrisons builds its online business.”
Scott Weavers-Wright, Chief Executive of kiddicare.com, said:
“Elaine and I are extremely excited about partnering with Morrisons to accelerate the pace of future growth at kiddicare.com and look forward to working with the Morrisons team to develop their on-line offer. There are fantastic synergies between the two businesses and our platform will allow both brands to enjoy future success and to continue to deliver an unrivalled customer experience.”
The acquisition is subject to certain conditions which, if not satisfied by 23 March 2011, would allow Morrisons to terminate the agreement.
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