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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 15:48 GMT
Littlewoods family warns over new owners
The founding family of the Littlewoods retail and pools betting empire have raised concerns about its new leadership.

The Littlewoods business, founded in Liverpool in 1923, was sold to media entrepreneurs the Barclay brothers in October.

But John Moores, son of Littlewoods founder Sir John Moores, has already written to the company to voice his concerns about the new regime.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was worried about the treatment of staff and Littlewoods' role in the community.

Charity ends here?

Littlewoods had always played an important part in Liverpool, donating 1% of its profits to local charities.

But already the new owners have scrapped that tradition.

It would have gone broke under the family system. It was chaotic
John Moores

Gone also is the group's membership of the ethical trading board, a voluntary code designed to avoid suppliers which use child or forced labour.

"Basically the community affairs department has gone," Mr Moores said.

"It came as a great shock to me," he added.

New method

Mr Moores said the Barclay Brothers had assured him they were continuing to give to charity, just different ones.

"I haven't yet learnt to distrust them," he said.

But added: "I'm having doubts.

"They want to do all sorts of things, but not the way we do."

Mr Moores said the biggest hit would be felt in Liverpool, where less money would be donated.

But he added: "I can't completely condemn the Barclay Brothers as every time I've asked them something I get an answer."

This is business

Mr Moores also acknowledged that without new management, the Littlewoods empire would not have survived.

He said since his father's departure, the business had struggled.

"Since the old man went, the fighting started.

"The Barclay brothers are at least going to run it properly on the business side."

Mr Moores said he "slightly regretted" the decision to sell, but admitted there was little other option.

"It would have gone broke under the family system. It was chaotic."





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SEE ALSO:
Record fine for toy price-fixing
19 Feb 03 |  Business
Job losses at Littlewoods
15 Dec 02 |  England
Littlewoods may sell stores
07 Oct 02 |  England



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