Where is Woolworth’s public relations?

Apparently Woolworth is looking to sell its high street chain for as little as £1 – quite a headline grabbing statement.  One year short of its centenary, the brand would be a high profile casualty of the “credit crunch” – so maybe it is surprising that Woolworth has refused to comment on media speculation about its future.

Indeed, if you check out the media centre on the Woolworth site (link hidden at bottom of its product oriented website), there’s no indication of the corporate crisis. The corporate site (again small link) does offer up a comment:

Statement re press speculation

The Board of Woolworths notes the recent press speculation.

The Board can confirm that it is in preliminary discussions regarding a possible offer for the retail business. There can be no assurance that any offer will be forthcoming.

For further information contact

Susanna Voyle, Tulchan Communications 020 73534200

Interestingly, the former FT journalist, Susanna Voyle states at her consultancy’s website:

Alongside Tulchan client work I run Vox Media, Tulchan’s communications coaching consultancy, which helps business leaders develop and deliver their critical messages. Vox works with leading executives to help them refine their messages and then “speak with their own voice” at a range of events.

Clearly the executives at Woolworth’s have not found their own voice, as surely this ought to be a critical time to get across the company’s own perspective.

There is no shortage of chatter about the company and its future – speculation and other sources are filling the vacuum left by the “no comment” approach from Woolworth itself.

There seems to be little evidence that PR is operating within the company at a strategic level or that it is used for anything more than product promotion.

Rather ironic maybe that this marketing-oriented approach to PR is promoting £1 credit crunch toys for Christmas at the same time that the company itself is available at a “super low price”.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.