Is Woolworths coming back to the UK high street?
Woolworths, once one of the UK’s largest retailers, could be returning to the UK high street nearly a decade after its collpase. Former Woolworths boss Tony Page revealed on Monday he has approached Shop Direct to buy the brand back. The UK general merchandise retailer, which had nearly 800 stores in the UK, collapsed in 2008.
”I am still emotionally attached to it. I still think it has got a role in the future,” said the businessman to the Daily Star on Monday. "I have contacted Shop Direct and said, 'you're not using the brand anymore, would you consider giving it to someone who would?'"
Considered once a staple of every town across the country, the retailer was famous for its pix ‘n’ mix selection and school clothes, but was hit hard by the weakened consumer spending following the 2008 economic crisis and fell into administration with debts of around £400 million.
The Woolworths brand was bought by Shop Direct in 2009 after administrators were unable to find a buyer for the whole of the collapsed business. The owner of Very.co.uk ran the brand as a retail site before winding it down in 2015.
"They have taken the website down, so I'm curious now as to what might happen next because I still think the brand has got some propriety in spite of what happened in the past," said Page to the Daily Star Online.
"I feel as though if the brand name was available it would still be a possibility to bring it back (to our high streets)."
Page shared his vision for Woollies, saying the business would return with town centre and community stores rather than major shopping centres.
“The stores the reality used to do well were those that were at the heart of the community, rather than being in the big shopping centres,” he said. "It is much easier to walk down the road than to order on Amazon."
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