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U.K. retailer Woolworths enters home software fray

Like competitor Tesco, Woolworths will offer a range of products from software developer Formjet Innovations.

Mixed-merchandise retailer Woolworths has followed in the footsteps of U.K. retailing giant Tesco by launching its own range of PC software, due to hit shelves in the middle of April.

Woolworths has struck a deal with white-label software developer Formjet Innovations to supply seven applications designed for consumers, including Internet security, antivirus, word processing, photo editing, backup and "edutainment" software.

The move is in line with the retailer's strategy to revamp its flagging entertainment lines. The software products are targeted at the traditional young family and female Woolworths' customers, according to Graham O'Reilly, a Formjet director.

"The range of the products is in line with Woolworths' target market. It is user-friendly, and the packaging uses bright, friendly styling," O'Reilly said, adding, "It's pretty radical to have security software on a six-month license, and the products will have a radically lower price-point than the market leaders."

Formjet already supplies a range of home software to Tesco that launched last October, although the range offered is skewed slightly more toward office use and away from education. Tesco's offering is also on a slightly higher price range, said O'Reilly, to reflect the difference in customer profile.

The product line will be available in 160 of Woolworths' 800 stores, in the Big Red Book catalog and online by the middle of April. Formjet will also support the products through a white-label Web site.

Julian Goldsmith of reported from London.