It appears to be a low-risk venture for Woolworths. Consumers who click on its website for details of the new cars available go through to Freeway Cars, an online motor finance operation already established under the Bank of Scotland Group.
Bank of Scotland sources the cars directly from vehicle manufacturers, using its bulk buying power to negotiate savings. All are on Freeway PCP or HP schemes.
“Response has been positive and we have sales under our belt already,” says a Woolworths spokesman. “Customers benefit from great prices on new cars from a large retail brand.”
He declined to state sales or profit targets, but says the margin for Woolworths “is a lot better than it is on CDs”.
Several high street chains have previously attempted motor retailing. Virgin closed its web-based Virgin Cars business in December and, in 2002, supermarket group Morrisons briefly tried a tie-in with Lookers.