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In the 1930s, Littlewoods expanded into retail, launching a mail-order catalogue that offered a wide range of goods. The company also opened a chain of department stores throughout the UK, which became popular shopping destinations for generations of British consumers. In 1937, the first store opened in Blackpool, Britain's most popular working-class holiday resort. By 1939, 24 stores in various sections of the country had opened. Moores' venture into chain-store retailing in the mid-1930s was well-timed, too, for the British economy was healing from the recession that had occurred during the Great Depression, and employment and disposable income were on the rise. 

The Second World War saw the temporary closure of the retail stores, whilst the mail-order department of Littlewoods remained open. Once it had reopened after the war, shoppers' habits and tastes were changed by what came to be called the 'retailing revolution', in which there was a leap in demand for consumer durables and white goods. In 1952, there were 52 Littlewoods stores in operation, more than twice as many as there had been in 1939.

By the mid-'60s, there were 70, 108 in 1984, and 122 in 1990. The retail stores provided clothes, household goods, food, wines, and spirits; most also had restaurants. Over a third of mothers with young children were said to shop there at least once a month. In the mid-1990s, the catalogue market was transformed with the emergence of internet transactions, and Littlewoods began closing its stores, with the outlet at Merry Hill in the West Midlands being one of the first outlets to close in 1996. In 2004, the Littlewoods retail business was sold to the Barclay brothers, who merged it with their own retail company, Shop Direct. The Littlewoods name was retained as a brand within the Shop Direct group, but in 2018, the decision was made to retire the brand and consolidate all retail operations under the name

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