|Sir John Moores|
It was during this period that Littlewoods embarked on a policy of buying up smaller companies and added Burlington, Janet Frazer, Brian Mills and Peter Craig to its ranks of catalogues. The company already had a host of retail shops including it's flagship 'Littlewoods' store in Church Street Liverppol beneath the company HQ, 'Spinney House' which was named after a 'Spinney' which is a 'little wood', hence Littlewoods. But as the company grew, the burning question for many in Liverpool was whether Littlewoods would remain in the city. There was great relief when the company announced its intention to move into the new 14 storey John Moores Centre in Old Hall Street.
|Spinney House in Church Street|
|The 14 storey 'Littlewoods' building viewed from Bixteth Street|
Littlewoods Church Street Store with that statue of John and his brother
The 1960s changed the mail order business forever and a new age of disposable, high-turnover fashion crept quickly into mail order buying. Teenagers wanted clothes that would reflect their new found freedom and Littlewoods took advantage of this by launching high-fashion sections in its catalogues. There was also a market for luxury items like record players and other household electrical goods and these were all catered for by Littlewoods,
In 1982 Sir John Moores retired and the family appointed a new chairman, John Clement. It was a difficult period for business in Britain: interest rates were high and unemployment was rising, Littlewoods reacted to these pressures by trimming its expansion plans. The company reduced its workforce, shedding 2,200 jobs and closed some of its retail stores.
In 2002 the Moores' family finally released its grip on Littlewoods altogether, selling the business to the Barclay Brothers for £750m. John Moores died on 25 September 1993. By then he had had been made a Freeman of the City of Liverpool. In 1972 he was made a CBE and was knighted in June 1980. A statue designed by Tom Murphy, the bronze memorial to the founders of the Littlewoods empire was commissioned by Littlewoods to mark the centenary of Sir John’s birth. It was unveiled in 1996, outside the organisation’s flagship Church Street premises, which is now a Primark store.
The statue was moved from Church Street to Old Hall Street in 2006 while major improvement works were carried out. Following talks with the Moores family - including Sir John’s daughter Lady Grantchester – the council has returned the statue close to its original, prominent position, at the heart of the city centre. The statue has been cleaned and a new, circular plaque has been installed at it base, with the wording: “Freeman Sir John Moores, Founder, and Mr Cecil Moores, Director, of the Littlewoods Organisation.”
The Moores brothers ran the Littlewoods football pools empire, which was founded in 1923 by Sir John, a one-time post office messenger who started by printing coupons and distributing them by hand. Littlewoods’ success turned Sir John, who died in 1993, into a billionaire. He later launched the Littlewoods mail order business. His brother Cecil took over the pools operation in 1932 and ran it as chairman until 1979. Cecil died in 1989.