|Industry||Retail and distribution|
|Predecessor(s)||F W Woolworth & Co. Ltd|
|Founded||Liverpool, Merseyside, England (1909) (opening of F.W. Woolworth's first British store)
2001 (as Woolworths Group)
|Founder(s)||Frank Winfield Woolworth|
|Headquarters||Marylebone Road, London, England|
|Number of locations||819 (Peak in April 2008)|
|Area served||UK and Ireland|
|Key people||Richard North, Chairman
Steve Johnson, CEO
|Employees||400 (As of 2009)|
|Divisions||Woolworths plc, EUK Ltd. (Both in administration)|
Woolworths Group plc was a listed British company that owned the high-street retail chain, Woolworths, as well as other brands such as the entertainment distributor Entertainment UK and book and resource distributor Bertram Books. The Woolworths store chain, which had more than 800 stores at its peak, was the main enterprise of the group, selling many goods and having its own LadyBird children's clothing ranges, Chad Valley toys and the WorthIt! value ranges. The chain was the UK's largest supplier of Candyking "pick 'n' mix" sweets. It was also sometimes referred to as "Woolies" by the UK media, the general public, and occasionally in its own television commercials.
On 26 November 2008, the trading of shares in Woolworths Group plc was suspended and the Woolworths and Entertainment UK subsidiaries entered administration. Woolworths Group plc also entered administration on 27 January 2009. The administrators Deloitte & Touche closed all 807 Woolworths stores between 27 December 2008 and 6 January 2009 resulting in 27,000 job losses.
The British branch of the originally Pennsylvania-founded Woolworths stores, F W Woolworth & Co, Ltd was founded by Frank Woolworth in Liverpool, England on 6 November 1909 primarily due to Frank Woolworth's ancestry linking to Woolley, Cambridgeshire — Frank himself claiming he had traced his ancestry through the Founding Fathers of the district to a small farm in middle-England. When Frank eventually travelled to England in 1890, he docked in Liverpool and travelled by train to Stoke on Trent for the purchase of china and glassware for Woolworth's ranges, but also noted his love of England in his diary and his aspirations for bringing the Woolworth name to England;
|“||I believe that a good penny and sixpence store, run by a live Yankee, would be a sensation here.||”|
When at a Stoke on Trent railway station, Frank Woolworth met a young freight clerk, William Lawrence Stephenson who impressed Woolworth with his "can-do attitude" and was invited several years later at the time of conception for the British "F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd", to meet with Frank Woolworth again, who dispatched a carriage and invitation to his hotel room in London. When Stephenson arrived to meet with Woolworth, he was offered the job as director of the new company, which he accepted.
Internal concerns with British stores 
After the idea for the creation of British stores, Frank Woolworth had offered invitations to store managers in the United States to open up stores in the UK and had only received offers to take positions at the time of his illness in March 1909 from Fred Woolworth of the Sixth Avenue and Samuel Balfour of the 14th Street stores in New York City. After these initial offers, Byron Miller, a superintendent in a Boston store, also offered his assistance and set sail with the other volunteers on the Steamer, Kaiserin Auguste Victoria on 29 May 1909 for England from Hoboken.
Although Frank Woolworth himself expected other members of staff to admire the volunteers in establishing FW Woolworth & Co in Britain, vice president and general manager of FW Woolworth & Co, Carson C. Peck had reservations with enlisting staff members to travel to Britain, questioning whether Woolworth had indeed created the new business adventure following a dream, or due to his dissatisfaction with the current condition of the American branch.
Peck also asked those who were willing to volunteer to reconsider their decision, claiming that those who had volunteered were unaware of the uncertainty and risks involved and that some were only tentatively willing to engage in Woolworth's new endeavour: His concerns mainly entered on the fact that the majority of the managers who followed the decision did so out of loyalty to Woolworth, and that moving such a valuable resource already established in the United States to what was a financially unproven "Little Infant" in the UK would have a detrimental effect upon the "Bread and Butter" of the Company.
|“||To me it seems that these return sheets are in danger of being misunderstood and that it is a good deal like asking a boy to volunteer to go into a bear's den when he does not know whether he is to eat a nicely cooked luscious bear's steak, or be eaten by a great, big black bear.||”|
—Carson C. Peck
Inauguration of British stores 
Despite reservations such as Peck's, the decision to launch stores in the United Kingdom went ahead as previously planned by Woolworth. He considered several locations for the first stores, together with future possible sites. The chosen location for the first store was 25 - 25A, Church Street and 8, Williamson Street Liverpool (the street addresses of the different entrances). It opened on 5 November 1909 with a performance by a full orchestra, circus acts and fireworks.
As a means of adherence to American trading tradition, only viewing of items was allowed on the first day of the shop's opening. This included guests being given complimentary tea while being entertained by a traditional brass band in the refreshment room. The event was reported positively by the local newspaper, the Liverpool Courier, which praised the decor of the stores along with the value and range of items on sale.
Despite local press praise, the British national newspaper The Daily Mail likened Frank Woolworth to Phineas Taylor Barnum and claimed that the store location had been decided as part of a contingency plan in the event of failure so as to facilitate escape from any financial liability. Despite these reservations, the store proved to be a success; large queues outside and low priced 3d. (1.25p) and 6d. (2.5p) ("thruppenny and sixpenny") items leading to it being almost stripped bare of goods before the end of the first day of trading and being attributed to mass purchased mass-produced foreign and local goods.
During World War I 
At the onset of World War I, FW Woolworth & Co. had 40 stores located both in Great Britain and in Ireland located in most major cities - from which a total of 57 staff including store managers had enlisted; the majority of whom did not return after the end of the war in 1918. Despite American staff again offering their services to the Woolworths branches in Britain, remaining staff increased their efforts to cope with the lack of staff members throughout the war with several staff members being promoted to managerial positions.
Stores in the United States, which were then stocking ranges also present in British stores were dependent upon European manufacturers which had adopted newer production methods than their American counterparts.
1918 - 1982 
After World War I, the company continued to expand with the opening of further branches. By 1923 there were 130 branches, and William Lawrence Stephenson (1880–1963) became managing director. He implemented a strategy of major expansion, with the company buying or building freehold properties. Many of the stores had distinctive faience tiled art deco frontages. The expansion was funded entirely out of earnings and without any borrowing or further capitalisation. The 400th branch, at Southport, Lancashire, opened on 12 July 1930, and at the time of floating on the stock exchange in 1931, there were 444 branches.
On 25 November 1944, during the final months of World War II, the Woolworths store in New Cross, London, was hit by a V-2 rocket, killing 168 people. The site of this Woolworths is now occupied by an Iceland frozen food store.
Expansion was effectively suspended between 1940 and 1950, due to World War II and post-war restrictions, but then resumed. The 800th branch, at Wilton Road, Victoria, London, opened in September 1953. On 22 May 1958, the 1,000th branch opened at Boundary Road, Portslade, Sussex. The peak of 1,141 branches was reached in the late 1960s. From then until the US parent sold out in 1982, a number of branches were closed and sold, and at the time that ownership shifted to the UK, there were about 1,000 branches.
Split from parent company and after 
In 1982, the British Woolworths was acquired by Paternoster Stores Ltd, the forerunner of Kingfisher plc. Woolworths Group plc was formed by the demerger of Kingfisher's general merchandise business, and began trading as a listed company on the London Stock Exchange on 28 August 2001, using the symbol WLW.
During the 1980s, management rationalised merchandise lines into clearly defined categories: entertainment, home, kids (toys and clothing) and confectionery. During this time many Woolworths branches were downsized. Older branches in major cities were sometimes almost as large as the major department stores nearby. For instance in 1987, Woolworths left their five floor branch on Briggate in Leeds which they had occupied since 1913 (now occupied by House of Fraser) and kept only their smaller single level branch in the Merrion Centre in an area of the city centre which generally saw a lesser footfall, of shoppers who were generally on a lower budget.
In the late 1990s, the management extended the Woolworths brand into other retail formats and alternative channels to accelerate growth by taking advantage of changing retail trends. Some larger format stores were opened under the Big W brand, similar to Wal-Mart in the US. Although initially successful, the format ultimately failed to catch on; the original plan had relied upon leveraging the involvement of other Kingfisher group retailers, but following the demerger this was no longer possible. In 2004, Woolworths sold off some Big W store sites to other retailers, including Asda and Tesco. The gross internal floor area of the remaining sites was reduced to an optimum trading size of around 40,000 to 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2). Following this, they were rebranded as Woolworths Out of Town stores.
Woolworths had previously tried the large out of town store or hypermarket format in the 1960s with the Woolco stores. While some of these stores were closed, the majority were sold to the Dee Corporation in the early 1980s and re-opened as Gateway or Carrefour hypermarkets. Today some old Woolco stores are still standing, such as the Asda store in Thornaby-on-Tees.
In early days many Woolworths stores had cafes in them . However, as the years went on, and many larger stores were either closed or downscaled, fewer stores had cafes in them. When the stores finally ceased trading in 2008/9, only around 10% of the stores had cafes in them. These were usually located at the back of the stores or, when a store had a second sales floor, they were located either in the basement or upstairs on the first floor. They sold the usual range of hot and cold drinks, with hot food available, including breakfasts and lunch-time meals. Stores with cafes in them included Basingstoke, Coventry, Cambridge, Ipswich, Paignton, Gloucester, Huntingdon, Worcester, Windsor, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Leigh, Wrexham, Leamington Spa, Maidstone, Salisbury, Southport, St Helens, Hounslow and High Wycombe.
Republic of Ireland 
Woolworths had some stores in the Republic of Ireland which closed in 1984. In August 1996, market research was undertaken by Woolworths' Belfast District Office, which investigated opportunities to re-enter the Republic of Ireland market. In a project commissioned by the then Northern Ireland District Manager Bruce Strang, a total of 32 potential locations were identified that could support a Woolworths store. However, the project did not proceed beyond the market research phase.
Recent history 
The newly independent Woolworths faced severe competitive and financial pressures. The market for physical copies of music, one of Woolworths main money spinners, slowed in the early 21st century; specialist music chains such as Our Price collapsed. The major supermarket chains expanded into many of Woolworths product areas, and fast expanding Wilkinson challenged it directly on the high street.
Woolworths did not generally follow the trend started in the 1980s of opening stores at out-of-town relocations. It did indeed open a store at the new Merry Hill Shopping Centre in 1989, but this closed within a few years due to disappointing trade.
In an attempt to raise the groups corporate profile, under the chairmanship of Gerald Corbett, Woolworths sponsored a show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2004. Designed by a group of graduate students from Pickard School of Garden Design, including Catherine Gamble, Bella Montgomery, Darryl Moore and Rob Whitehead, the contemporary-formal style garden was awarded a silver medal.
In Summer 2006 the business launched an in-store collection service for items ordered on their website or in-store, to complement the already established in-store ordering system. In late September 2006, the "Big Red Book" was launched. This was designed to be a direct competitor of the Argos catalogue. Big Red Books 2 and 3 followed in March and October 2007 respectively.
In the years before 2008 the brand had moved into the entertainment and electronics aspects of retail after its acquisition of the company Entertainment UK, and expanded its chains by converting existing stores into larger "20x20" stores found in larger high-street locations for larger product ranges and smaller "10x10" stores aimed at meeting everyday shopping requirements. "Out-of-town" stores, formerly known as "Big W" were set up further away from towns and stocked the standard Woolworth lines and other items that are not offered in high-street locations. As of April 2008[update], there were 819 stores in the United Kingdom.
On 12 August 2008, Woolworths Group announced the appointment of Steve Johnson, former Chief executive officer of Focus DIY, to the post of Woolworths Chief Executive. He replaced Trevor Bish Jones, who had left during the summer.
In September 2008, Woolworths scrapped its interim dividend after it announced a pre-tax loss of £99.7m for the six months to 2 August. Also in September, Steve Johnson, chief executive, outlined a possible turnaround plan to sell 120 stores, axe a quarter of its products, reduce web operations and cut jobs. During the same month The Telegraph noted that Woolworths' chairman, Richard North, had rejected an indicative offer tabled by Iceland founder Malcolm Walker to buy the group's 815 stores.
At that time, the retailer's largest shareholder was Iranian property developer Ardeshir Naghshineh, with a 10.2% stake. A consortium led by Icelandic investor Baugur, called Unity owned a 10% stake in Woolworths. In October 2008 Sir Alan Sugar, founder of electronics firm Amstrad, increased his stake in Woolworths to around 4%. Theo Paphitis, owner of stationery retailer Ryman, also stated his interest in the company.
On 19 November 2008, The Times reported that the Woolworths' retail business was a target for restructuring specialist Hilco, who would buy the retail arm for a nominal £1; this was confirmed the same day. This deal would have left Woolworths Group with its profitable distribution and publishing businesses and a reduced debt load.
The group's banks, GMAC and Burdale, rejected the deal and recalled their loans, forcing the group to place the retail business and Entertainment UK into administration. On 26 November 2008, the trading of shares in Woolworths Group plc was suspended. Neville Kahn, Dan Butters and Nick Dargan of Deloitte LLP were appointed joint administrators. When the company entered administration it had a debt of £385 million. The administrators announced that they were aiming to keep the company as a going concern over the crucial Christmas period, although analysts feared that any heavy discounting would create a domino effect and drag down other high street retailers. Deloitte later announced they had received "substantial interest" in Woolworths.
When news about Woolworths being placed into administration became widely publicised, National Lottery operator Camelot Group immediately suspended Woolworths from selling their lottery tickets and scratch cards, as well as preventing claimants from redeeming prizes at the stores.
On 19 January 2009, the parent company, Woolworths Group, announced its intention to also enter administration, as it could no longer pay its debts. The application was heard by the High Court on 27 January, and Woolworths Group plc entered administration. By April 2009 Woolworths Group plc's website no longer existed.
Closing-down process 
On 5 December, Woolworths both recorded their greatest single day takings of £27 million, and axed 450 head office and support staff jobs. A closing-down sale started on 11 December.
On 17 December 2008, administrators announced that all 807 Woolworths stores would close by 5 January 2009 (later changed to 6 January), with 27,000 job losses. Deloitte's Neville Kahn also said that it was unclear how much of Woolworths' debt would be paid. In the last few days of trading discounts of up to 90% were offered, and a number of stores sold all of their stock, many selling all of their fixtures and fittings too.
The former chief executive of Kingfisher, Woolworths' former parent company, and Ardeshir Naghshineh, a major shareholder of Woolworths, have criticised the closures.
- 207 stores closed on 27 December 2008
- 37 closed on 29 December
- 164 closed on 30 December
- 200 closed on 3 January 2009
- remaining stores (approximately 200) closed on 6 January 2009
Gallery of Defunct Stores 
Woolworths in Croydon, shelves bare, on last day of Final Clearance Sale
A closed-down Woolworth's store at the Westfield Centre, Derby.
Woolworths in Holywell. Still empty and for sale in September 2009.
Future of Woolworths in the UK 
Former stores 
The administrators announced on 10 December 2008 that they were having difficulty selling the company as a going concern, and as a result some stores might close before the end of the month. Talks were still progressing to sell individual stores and leases to a number of retailers, said to include the supermarket chains Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, The Co-operative and the discount chain The Original Factory Shop and Poundland.
In December 2008, Woolworths executive Tony Page was trying to raise around £40 million to relaunch the brand after closure. This would have been a smaller chain of 125 stores in the North of England, with hopes of returning to the South. However, a deal could not be met in time. The government were also asked in a final attempt to make the deal but without success.
The supermarket chain Iceland bought 51 of the stores on 9 January 2009 for an undisclosed sum. Iceland had previously made a bid for Woolworths in 2008, but this initial bid was rejected. Baugur, one of the major shareholders of Woolworths, partly owns Iceland, and Baugur UK itself entered administration in February. Meanwhile, some of former Woolworths stores have been sporadically replaced by stores such as Boyes, Boots, H&M, Primark, TK Maxx, TJ Hughes, B & M, Home Bargains, and W H Smith. As of 2 February, the administrators are still negotiating the sale of the remaining sites of the Woolworths property portfolio.
In August 2010 the BBC reported that over 300 (i.e. approximately 40%) of ex-Woolworths stores remained empty, and that the largest group now using former Woolworths stores were discount retailers such as Poundland.
According to press reports on 17 February 2009, entrepreneur Tony Page planned to open a chain of shops adopting the Woolworths format, but under a different name, with an initial 50 stores under the Alworths fascia.
However Alworths eventually suffered the same fate as its predecessor and entered administration and closed.
Wellchester ceased trading in August 2012, after store manager Claire Robertson left to set up her own consultancy business advising other retailers.
Shop Direct Group (Woolworths online store) 
On 2 February 2009, it was announced that Woolworths is to be "re-born" as an online store, after the brand was bought by one of the companies belonging to The Daily Telegraph owners, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay. The Woolworths and Ladybird brand names were both bought by Shop Direct Group who also own companies such as Littlewoods, Kays and Great Universal. The website will use the same URL as the previous Woolworths Group retail website, Woolworths.co.uk
Apart from the acquisition of the Woolworths trademarks and URLs there is no link at all between Woolworths Plc (and its predecessors) or the shops and businesses they operated, and the business that Shop Direct propose attaching the names and URLs to.
New Cross, London 
Many branches of Woolworths suffered severe bomb damage and even destruction during the Luftwaffe attacks in the early part of the Second World War. However it was towards the end of the war that the largest civilian loss of life due to direct enemy fire in Britain during the conflict occurred when, at lunchtime on 26 November 1944, a German V-2 rocket fell on a packed Woolworths store in New Cross Road, killing 168 people (including 15 children), injuring 122 others and razing the building to the ground. The neighbouring London Co-operative Society store was also demolished in the attack.
The store was especially busy as news of a delivery of hard-to-obtain saucepans generated huge crowds, many of whom were queueing outside the store at the time of the rocket's impact.
Planning and economic restrictions after the war meant Woolworths did not build a replacement store on the site until 1960; this closed in 1984. It was reported that some employees there felt the building was haunted.
Lewisham Council and Woolworths erected a plaque on the site commemorating those who died that day.
Central Manchester 
A serious fire erupted just after 1pm on 8 May 1979 at the Manchester store opposite Piccadilly Gardens, said at the time to be the largest Woolworths in Europe, with six floors plus two basement levels. The fire, which started in the second floor furnishing department, killed ten shoppers and one member of staff; of whom three were found just six feet away from an exit with another three bodies nearby. Of the 12 calls made to the fire service that day, none came from the store itself. It is believed that the fire was started by a damaged electrical cable, which had furniture stacked in front of it. An inquiry showed that, although the store's fire precautions met all legal requirements, the spread of the fire and the high number of casualties were in part due to the absence of measures such as a fire sprinkler system to stop the spread of the fire from the furniture department, and the use of polyurethane foam in the furnishings, a material which is highly inflammable and highly toxic but cheap and at that time legal in furniture; however, this would have consequences for later legislation.
The second floor was gutted by the fire, while the third floor suffered severe smoke damage; the ground, first and second floors all received extensive water damage when the fire was extinguished. Due to the loss of life and devastation to the Manchester store, the Fire Research Station conducted a number of tests to develop sprinkler systems that could handle a similar large department store fire. However, there is still no requirement for United Kingdom retailers to have a sprinkler system in place, with many preferring to focus on evacuation procedures rather than fire containment. The catastrophe also resulted in modifications to the Fire Precautions Act and was among the factors that led to the ban on the use of polyurethane foam in home furnishings (a long-time concern of the Fire Service) forcing furniture manufacturers to develop new fabrics and materials for sofas and other items.
The fire brought graphic images into the public consciousness (including footage of office girls trapped behind barred windows on the top floor) due to the store's location next to the then studios of BBC Manchester (above the National Westminster Bank) and near to those of Granada Television, the offices of the Manchester Evening News and the northern offices of several national newspapers.
The disaster has become a significant object of study for academics interested in the behaviour of people in emergency situations, after research showed a number of customers (predominately in the public restaurant area) refused to leave despite the sounding of alarms, requests from staff and even the smell and visibility of smoke; some even continued to queue at an abandoned check-out. The majority of those who perished were in this area.
The store subsequently re-opened and eventually closed in 1986. It until recently, in 2012, was an amusement arcade. The Amusement Arcade is closed down and windows are covered with wood, painted red. The company did have several smaller outlets during the 1990s which sold music and confectionery. Smaller outlets with a similar format were also tried at the Sheffield Meadowhall Shopping Centre, but closed in 2003; the Manchester Music and Video store was superseded by a larger MVC store, owned by Woolworths Group.
Central Leeds 
Woolworths original branch on Briggate in Leeds which opened in 1913 was one of the chains flagship shops and was spread over four floors. The branch however suffered a major fire in 1969. Significant damage was caused to the shop which was refitted following the fire. The shop was not open to the public at the time and all staff were evacuated, avoiding fatalities. Only minor injuries were suffered. It took several hours for the fire to be extinguished.
Bangor, County Down 
Woolworths' store at 18/22 Main Street Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland (Store No. 380) was targeted by terrorists on 30 March 1974 as part of co-ordinated incendiary bomb attack on the town centre.
At 5pm, a telephone warning was received that fifteen incendiary devices had been placed in the town centre and were due to explode in 30 minutes. Immediate and successful efforts were made by the Police to evacuate the commercial centre of the town, however there was inadequate time to prevent the devices from exploding. The Woolworths store was badly damaged after a device exploded on the salesfloor. A Policeman suffered concussion after he was blown off his feet by the resultant blast from the device and a female civilian was cut by flying debris.
Other stores targeted in the attack included the town's Co-operative Department Store and FA Wellworth Department Store. The town's Woolworths' store was demolished after the attack. A new 8,000 square feet (740 m2) store was built on the same site, which reopened in the mid 1970s.
The rebuilt store suffered minor damage after a 200 lb car bomb exploded a short distance away, near the town's FA Wellworth's store on the evening of 21 October 1992. Nobody was injured in the explosion, which occurred after most stores in the town centre had closed for the day. However, significant damage was caused to the entrance area of the Woolworths' store, with windows being blown out, the porch roof being destroyed and a small quantity of stock toward the front of the store being damaged. Additionally, minor structural damage was caused to the store's stockroom with two internal portioning walls adjacent to the Generator Room and Fixtures' Store having to be rebuilt. The store recommenced trading on 23 October 1992.
Wooly and Worth 
Between 2004 and 2008, Woolworths adverts featured their own mascots, 'Wooly' the sheep and 'Worth' the sheepdog. They appeared in many adverts, including Woolworths WorthIt! adverts. In 2009, they were due to reappear in a half hour comedy special Wooly And Worth's Christmas Message, in which they reveal that they have been homeless since the closure of Woolworths. Scenes were filmed of the pair in a Job Centre and trying to secure and advertising contract with a number of other stores. The film, written and directed by radio presenter and writer Steve Oliver has been held up due to legal complications.
Woolworths, for many years, was a leader in the UK music industry. In the 1950s and well into the 1960s, Woolworths issued recordings available only via their stores on their own label Embassy Records, produced and manufactured by Oriole Records. These releases were double-sided singles featuring two cover versions of current hit singles sold at a much cheaper price. This venture was very successful at the time, but was eventually killed off when other record companies started to issue compilation albums. However, Woolworths remained in the music business selling a wide range of singles and albums, and remained the UK's Number 1 music retailer well into the 1990s. Even successful nationwide music specialists stores such as Virgin Megastores and HMV did not overtake Woolworths during this time. They later suffered from strong competition in this field from the large supermarket chains Tesco and Asda.
Entertainment UK 
Entertainment UK (EUK) was founded, originally as Record Merchandisers Limited in 1966 by EMI Records, to distribute music to non-specialist retailers, and subsequently became a joint venture between a number of record companies. Woolworths became Entertainment UK's largest customer and in 1986 Record Merchandisers Limited was acquired by the Kingfisher Group. In 1988, Record Merchandisers Limited changed its name to Entertainment UK (EUK).
EUK became the property of Woolworths Group plc after the demerger from parent company, the Kingfisher Group, in 2001. In 2006, the Woolworths Group acquired Total Home Entertainment Distribution Limited (THE) to form part of Entertainment UK (EUK) division. In November 2007 EUK acquired Bertram Books, a major book wholesaler and distributor.
EUK was the main supplier of Zavvi under an exclusive supply deal. As a result of EUK entering into administration, on 24 December the music retailer was also forced into administration as it was unable to source stock on favourable terms direct from suppliers. Zavvi later closed entirely.
Streets Online 
Streets Online, founded in 1996 by Stephen Cole, was one of the pioneers of online retailing in the UK. Originally the name behind the online bookseller Alphabetstreet and music site Audiostreet, 85% of the company was bought out by the Kingfisher Group in 2000 for £15.7 million, and then became part of the Woolworths Group with its demerger in 2001. It then became responsible for the web operations of MVC and Tesco. When Kingfisher bought this 85%, the remaining 15% was owned by Sky New Media Ventures (part of BSkyB). In 2003 the company headquarters was moved to the EUK site in Hayes.
2 Entertain 
2 Entertain is a joint-venture company combining the former video and music publishing and TV/video production businesses of the Woolworths Group subsidiary, VCI, with the video publishing business of BBC Worldwide. After negotiations with Woolworth Group's administrators, BBC Worldwide has since purchased Woolworths stake in 2entertain, and now is the sole owner of the company.
Chad Valley 
Chad Valley was launched in 1991 to create an own label range of merchandise. The Chad Valley brand name, which has been in existence since 1860, is used on a range of toys and games suitable for children under 8 years old. Home Retail Group, the parent company of Argos and Homebase, purchased the brand for £5 million on 20 January 2009. Chad Valley is now exclusively in the Argos catalogue starting Autumn/Winter 2009.
Embassy Records 
Ladybird is a brand of children's wear for children aged 0–10 years which was sold exclusively in Woolworths stores. Before the collapse of the Woolworths chain it was ranked third overall in the childrenswear market, with a market share of 5%. Woolworths purchased rights to the Ladybird brand in 1984, purchasing it outright from Coats Viyella in 2001. The brand has a history which dates back to a trading partnership beginning in 1934 between the original firm Adolf Pasold & Son and Woolworths. On 1 February 2009, Shop Direct purchased the brand and whole rights from the administrators.
The Winfield brand was launched by Woolworths in 1963 and continued until the 1980s. Goods sold under the brand included household cleaners, groceries, kitchenware, perfumes and other ranges e.g. fishing tackle.
The WorthIt! brand was a value range released by Woolworths in 2007. The first advertising campaign for the brand which first aired on 15 June 2007 introduced the characters of Worth the dog and Wooly the sheep. Further advertising campaigns featured celebrities such as Rolf Harris, Jackie Chan and Kelly Osbourne. The brand covered a wide variety of products including confectionery, electricals, alcohol, jewellery, perfumes and clothing.
At the time of the administration of Woolworths Plc, there was a pending trademark application for the Worthit brand, and this was acquired by Shop Direct. However, registered trademark status was subsequently refused.
In popular culture 
- Woolworths is referred to in the 1979 song "Low Budget" by The Kinks, from their album Low Budget: "I'm shopping at Woolworths and low discount stores..."
- X-Ray Spex refer to Woolworths in their 1979 song "Warrior in Woolworths"
- "Threepenny and sixpenny sweets". Woolworths Virtual Museum. Retrieved 2007-03-13.[dead link]
- Lavan, Rosie (2008-11-26). "A history of Woolies: 99 years of pic 'n' mix". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- "Opinion: Don't cry for Woolworths.. its time was up". The Mirror. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- "Woolworths enters administration". BBC News. 26 November 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2008.
- "Woolworths stores to close". BBC News. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - US Origins 125 years ago - the early Woolworth story" Retrieved on 27 September 2007 from http://museum.woolworths.co.uk/1800sgalleryhome.htm[dead link]
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - US Origins 125 years ago - the early Woolworth story" - Notes that whilst the first store he tried with as in New York, his first venture under the name was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; "His first attempt in Utica, New York, failed. It was very popular for the first few weeks but then sales started to decline ... He tried again, this time opening in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles (97 km) away."
- Karen Plunkett-Powell, Remembering Woolworth's: A Nostalgic History of the World's Most Famous Five-and-Dime (Macmillan, 2001) p110
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The European connection - Frank Woolworth's second home" -- "As he grew older it was fashionable for Americans to trace their ancestry - particularly if they could trace their roots back to the "old country" - England or Ireland. ... Frank's research [-es] indicated a strong link with Woolley, Cambridgeshire and he used to claim that he could trace his line back through the Pilgrim Fathers to a farm in middle England."
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The European connection - Frank Woolworth's second home" -- "Woolworth's first trip to Europe was in 1890."
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The European connection - Frank Woolworth's second home" -- "Frank was impressed by Stephenson's can-do attitude - nothing was too much trouble for him"
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The European connection - Frank Woolworth's second home" -- "Several years later when planning the launch of the British company, Frank sent a carriage to Stoke-on-Trent with an invitation to join him at his hotel in London for dinner and a chat."
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The European connection - Frank Woolworth's second home" -- " Intrigued Stephenson travelled to London - where he was invited to become a Director of the new company - the only Briton on the team. He accepted. Over the next forty years he was to build F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. "
- Woolworth, Frank W. (personal communication 19 May 1909) -- "It has been a dream of mine for the past ten years to establish a chain of stores in the UK and have asked for volunteers, but have received no offers from any of the managers until in March 1909 when I was taken ill, Mr. Fred Woolworth of the Sixth Avenue, N.Y. Store and Mr. Samuel Balfour of the 14th Street, N.Y. Store came up to see me while I was ill and offered their services as volunteers to open up stores in England."
- Woolworth, Frank W. (personal communication 19 May 1909) -- " ... and it is expected that these three gentlemen will sail with me", for England
- Carson, Peck C. (personal communication 11 June 1909) -- "I have seen bunches of boys blindly follow a leader in all sorts of dangers: I have seen them follow a leader into all sorts of good things. There is no question but that you have had a good leader during your business career and I admire your blind faith in his leadership, but I want to say one or two things, and would like to find out, if possible, whether this rush to get away from present conditions is because of a spirit of adventure or dissatisfaction with your present conditions."
- Carson, Peck C. (personal communication 11 June 1909) -- "Now, strange as it may seem on looking over these return sheets, I should judge without having it scheduled up, that at least 150 out of 220 managers have blindly volunteered their services for they know not what."
- Carson, Peck C. (personal communication 11 June 1909) -- "
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The first British store - Church Street, Liverpool 1909" Retrieved on 27 September 2007 from [dead link]
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The first British store - Church Street, Liverpool 1909" -- "Many thousands of people yesterday afternoon and evening availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by the proprietors, Messrs. F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd., of inspecting their new stores at Church Street and Williamson Street. " Newspaper Excerpt from the "Liverpool Courier", 27 September 2007
- Coslett, Paul (2008-12-01). "The birth of a shopping tradition". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The first British store - Church Street, Liverpool 1909" -- "Many no doubt attracted by the novel character of the business transacted. 6D is the highest price charged for any single article in the establishment, but the variety of articles obtainable is infinite. ... Though none were on sale, the goods were laid out ready for the commencement of business to-day, and occasioned the visitors considerable surprise in the matter of their exceptional value. " Newspaper Excerpt from the "Liverpool Courier", 27 September 2007
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The first British store - Church Street, Liverpool 1909" -- "The Daily Mail's coverage of the planned opening was less enthusiastic. They likened Frank Woolworth to [P.T. ] Barnum and suggested that the Liverpool location had been chosen so that when it failed the pioneers could make a quick escape through the docks and back to America, leaving their debts behind them."
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). "The Woolworths Virtual Museum - The first British store - Church Street, Liverpool 1909" -- "Most items were either 3D (1.25p) or 6D, with occasional special lines just one old penny. The fine mahogany counters were stacked full of china and glassware, all at much lower prices than in other British stores. ... The secret was mass production, with Woolworths placing big orders, paid for in cash, to secure better prices."
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). Great Britain expected every man to do his duty, and fifty seven men enlisted from the British Woolworths, including virtually all of the Managers. Many never returned alive. Woolworths Virtual Museum
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). The Americans offered help, but the British company were keen to prove their worth. A number of women were promoted into the store management positions they so richly deserved, albeit only on a temporary basis. Business continued as usual.
- Woolworths Group Plc., et al. (2006). But the war presented a big problem, particularly for the American company. They had become dependent on European imports for major parts of their business. At the outset of the Great War European factories were far more modern than their American counterparts. Europe had embraced the new technologies and working practices of mass production in a way that was yet to take hold in the US.
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