Woolworths could make a return to the British high street

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blitzkrieg
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23 Jan 2024, 5:35 pm

"Woolworths might be making a comeback after the stores vanished from the British high street 15 years ago.

CEO Roman Heini who is expanding Woolworth Germany in Europe says the UK is next on his list for potential expansion.

Woolworths holds a special place in many Britons’ hearts who look back fondly on the brand which went into administration in 2009 after a century of providing a variety of goods to consumers.

Steeped in British high-street history, Woolworths was renowned for its pick ‘n’ mix, Ladybird children’s clothing range and WorthIt! Value range.

Mr Heini told the Mirror: “I don’t know of any brands where the recognition will be as high as it is in Britain, without having any stores.

“We have secured all the trademarks for the brand for the whole of Europe, so we could operate if we make the decision. It may be in the mix for the mid or long-term future.

Facebook users have shared their delight as they hope for the return of the much-loved household name."


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/woolworths-return-high-street-wilko-b2483355.html



funeralxempire
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23 Jan 2024, 5:50 pm

I wonder if Woolworths or Woolco will ever return to Canada.

Most of their old locations either became Walmart or Zellers stores.

Apparently Foot Locker is what's left of Woolworths in North America.


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blitzkrieg
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23 Jan 2024, 6:49 pm

^ I have fond memories of Woolworths from childhood. I hope it does come back.



DuckHairback
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24 Jan 2024, 9:19 am

I've got fond memories of it too but it went out of business for a reason. Times change. I don't think the 'high street' is coming back, people should accept this and get on with repurposing the space for modern times. Retail is out, except for niche/boutiquey stuff and residential and cultural is the way forward.

Clinging on to the idea of high streets being retail only is part of the reason most of our high streets now look terrible with empty units and charity shops everywhere.

If they bring Woolworths back they'll get a brief nostalgia bump then it will go south again.


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blitzkrieg
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24 Jan 2024, 9:22 am

DuckHairback wrote:
I've got fond memories of it too but it went out of business for a reason. Times change. I don't think the 'high street' is coming back, people should accept this and get on with repurposing the space for modern times. Retail is out, except for niche/boutiquey stuff and residential and cultural is the way forward.

Clinging on to the idea of high streets being retail only is part of the reason most of our high streets now look terrible with empty units and charity shops everywhere.

If they bring Woolworths back they'll get a brief nostalgia bump then it will go south again.


Didn't Woolworths go out of business following the financial crisis?

Maybe it could survive in today's economy - although having said that, it isn't even that great now, is it?

I think it depends on the area in terms of whether retail is doing well. In some cities, retail has recovered reasonably well after the pandemic ruined things. But in other places the pick up hasn't been seen, or has been slow.

I don't think retail is completely dead, or will be for a few decades at least, until all of the older folk pass away.



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24 Jan 2024, 11:17 am

^You're right, the financial crisis did for Woolworths but it was a final nail in the coffin, not the whole cause.

If you think about it, Woolworths bread and butter when we were young was chart music and cheap children's clothes (Ladybird brand). We all know happened to chart music, and there are plenty of options for cheap children's clothes now. The supermarkets have decimated everything else Woolworths traded in, the household and hardware type stuff is all available cheaper off the high street.

So i think if Woolworths were to try a reboot it would look very different to what it was previously, it would be just using the name. Everything will have to be terrible quality to compete.

And let's face it, Wilkos was doing pretty much the same as Woolworths until it too was recently wound up.

The only places I know where high streets aren't depressingly hollowed out are the wealthier places like Winchester and Bath but they have the advantage of being nice places to visit.

I think you're right that retail won't disappear completely but i don't think you'll be able to have retail as the sole reason for being a high street anymore.


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26 Jan 2024, 3:28 pm

Is UK Woolworth's in any way connected to US Woolworth's?


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funeralxempire
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26 Jan 2024, 3:43 pm

Tim_Tex wrote:
Is UK Woolworth's in any way connected to US Woolworth's?


Yes. Woolworth Group was a subsidiary of F. W. Woolworth Company until 1982. The German and Mexican subsidiaries were spun-off as well, but are still in business. Canadian, Irish and British subsidiaries are all currently defunct.

Woolco was another subsidiary.


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26 Jan 2024, 4:18 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Apparently Foot Locker is what's left of Woolworths in North America.

That is correct. Woolworths in North America didn't go out of business. They continued to pay their pension obligations rather than declaring bankruptcy. They have a big presence in malls and have a sales income of 8 billion a year. While malls haven't been doing too well I'd say they are doing well compared to anyone else in similar situation.



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26 Jan 2024, 8:40 pm

Woolworths has always been in Australia
https://www.woolworths.com.au/

They never left



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27 Jan 2024, 12:07 am

funeralxempire wrote:
Tim_Tex wrote:
Is UK Woolworth's in any way connected to US Woolworth's?


Yes. Woolworth Group was a subsidiary of F. W. Woolworth Company until 1982. The German and Mexican subsidiaries were spun-off as well, but are still in business. Canadian, Irish and British subsidiaries are all currently defunct.

Woolco was another subsidiary.


The last one in Houston closed in 1997, not sure about nationwide.


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