Alworths

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Alworths
Limited company
Industry Retail and distribution
Fate Administration
Predecessor Woolworths Plc
Founded 2009
Founder Andy Latham
Defunct 2011
Headquarters United Kingdom, Redhill, Surrey, England
Area served
UK
Key people
Andy Latham
Products General merchandise
Website www.alworths.com

Alworths was a chain of 18 high-street retail stores created in 2009 out of some of the former stores of Woolworths plc in the United Kingdom. The new company entered administration in 2011, and 15 branches were acquired by Poundstretcher.

History[edit]

At the end of 2008 Woolworths Plc, the parent company of the Woolworths stores, was in financial trouble, and went into administration at the beginning of 2009. All of the Woolworths high street stores in Britain were then closed. During the demise of the company, Tony Page, former commercial director at Woolworths, together with former UBS banker Gareth Thomas, put together plans to establish a new general retailer to fill the gap on the High Street left by the demise of Woolworths.[1][2] A team was recruited, including Andy Latham, former Woolworths' Head of Store Concessions and Development. Latham later announced that he was starting Alworths (the store being named after Latham's initials) using funding from a wealthy relative. Page and Thomas announced that they were consulting their lawyers on courses of action against Latham. The first Alworths store opened in Didcot on 5 November 2009, 100 years to the day after the original opening of the first British Woolworths store. Over the following 12 months, the number of Alworths stores increased to 18.

On 1 March 2011, Andy Latham resigned as a director of the board.[3] Latham set up a new company called Retail Acquisitions Ltd, with the same registered office as Alworths, prompting speculation that a pre-pack administration was being contemplated.

On Monday 28 March 2011 Alworths was placed into administration,[4][5] with many stores no longer selling music, games or even pick n mix. A policy of no returns came into effect. By 25 April at least five stores had closed,[6] including all the company's shops in Scotland.

On 5 May 2011, it was announced that the entire Alworths business had been bought by Poundstretcher who were acquiring 15 Alworths branches. Those not acquired were Llandudno and Evesham, but the Evesham store was acquired by Poundland.,[7] while the Llandudno store became Sainsbury's Local [8] Another in Amersham had already closed in 2010.[9]

Legal action[edit]

In October 2009 it was announced that Latham had secured funding from a family member for a new company which would not involve Page or Thomas. Page said that as a result, he and Thomas were talking to their lawyers.[2] In the end, Page and Thomas did not pursue legal action as the business did not succeed.

In addition to legal action threatened by Page and Thomas, on 30 October 2009, it was announced that Woolworths brand owner Shop Direct had written to Alworths to demand that it cease from "using a name and a product mix and trading off the back of the goodwill of the Woolworths business".[10]

Shop Direct subsequently decided against legal action.

Stores[edit]

An Alworths storefront in place of a previous Woolworths installation, April 2010

Alworths' store openings were:[11][12]

Other locations mentioned as possible were Lanark in Lanarkshire,[24] and Faversham, Kent.[2]

The Didcot store opened on the 100th anniversary of the opening of the first Woolworths store in Britain, in the former Woolworths premises in Didcot, which had closed exactly eleven months earlier; many of the staff were former employees of Woolworths. At the Didcot opening, it was announced that a further 21 Alworths stores would open over the next year, including two others in Oxfordshire[25] and 7 in Scotland.[17][26][27] The Alloa branch,[28] the tenth store to be opened (the third in Scotland), was the first not to be located in an old Woolworths store.[17]

The original Didcot branch closed on 8 August 2010 and the re-located branch, in the same shopping centre,[29] opened on 14 August 2010.[30] Amersham in Buckinghamshire closed on 12 September 2010.[31]

In early August 2010, Alworths store in Didcot closed and moved to a smaller store after the landlord refused to renew the one-year lease. The landlord initially hoped that Marks & Spencer (M&S) would take over the store; however, in the end Curry's took over the lease as the store did not meet M&S's specifications.[29]

In the middle of August 2010, the landlord of another Alworths store in Amersham also refused to renew their one-year lease; however this time Alworths were unable to find another suitable premises in which to relocate which meant they had to leave the town. As of September 2014, this store is now a Waitrose.[32]

After the company entered administration, the Evesham store closed, and did not reopen after the purchase of the company by Poundstrecher. That point marked the closure of the first three stores that Alworths had opened.[31]

On 7 March 2011 the Llandudno branch was closed by the landlords for non-payment of rent; this store had been open for less than a year, and was already having a "closing down" sale.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davey, Jenny (24 May 2009). "Former Woolies chief aims to bring back pick and mix". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 24 May 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Matthews, Virginia (1 October 2009). "'Woolworths' set to return to the high street next month". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "News - Alworths future uncertain". Diyweek.net. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  4. ^ Baker, Kat (2011-04-01). "Woolworths legacy dwindles as Alworths goes into administration | Online". Property Week. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  5. ^ "News - Alworths calls in administrators". Diyweek.net. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  6. ^ Harrison, Nicola (2011-04-15). "Five Alworths stores closed | News". Retail Week. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  7. ^ "Coronation Street star opens new Poundland store (From Evesham Journal)". Eveshamjournal.co.uk. 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  8. ^ "RE-FITTING work is taking place at a new Llandudno store set to create 25 jobs. The Sainsbury's Local supermarket, on the site of the former Woolworths store at 113-117 Mostyn Street, is due to open towards the end of March". Northwalespioneer.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  9. ^ Harrison, Nicola (2011-05-06). "Poundstretcher snaps up Alworths stores | News". Retail Week. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  10. ^ "Warning shot fired at Alworths". The Financial Times. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "Alworths 'will break even' in first year". Retail Week. 9 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "Alworths To Launch Three Further Stores Before Christmas". Kamcity. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Sloan, Liam (7 October 2009). "Woolies' rebirth to begin in Didcot...". The Didcot Herald. Oxford: Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd: 1. ISSN 0962-8568. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  14. ^ Evry, Craig (2 November 2009). "Alworths to rise out of Woolworths' ashes in Warminster". This Is Wiltshire. Newsquest Media Group. Archived from the original on 8 November 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009. 
  15. ^ Rougvie, Liz (27 May 2010). "New store to move into Cupar 'Woolies'". Fife Today. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  16. ^ a b "Alworths all set to open up two stores". The Scotsman. Johnston Press Digital Publishing. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c "Alworths plans next Scottish store". 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 11 July 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2010. 
  18. ^ Dungan, Ronnie (2010-07-22). "Alworths expands into Wales | Latest news from the toy industry | ToyNews". Toynews-online.biz. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  19. ^ Bull, Rebecca (2010-07-28). "Woolworths spin-off for Tiverton (From Mid Devon Star)". Middevonstar.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  20. ^ http://www.thisisbusiness-eastmidlands.co.uk/derbyshire/Woolies-reopened/article-2557427-detail/article.html
  21. ^ "Former Woolworths store in Newhaven to reopen". BBC News. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  22. ^ "Former Woolworths in Hertford to be filled by new department store | Hertfordshire Local News & Hertfordshire Events News | News From Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Waltham & Royston". Hertfordshiremercury.co.uk. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  23. ^ "New lease of life for former Woolworths store in Bellshill". Motherwell Times. 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  24. ^ "Alworths for Woolworths Lanark store? - Carluke Gazette". Lanarkgazette.co.uk. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  25. ^ Sloan, Liam (11 November 2009). "Warm town welcome for the 'Son of Woolworths'". The Didcot Herald. Oxford: Newsquest (Oxfordshire) Ltd: 18. ISSN 0962-8568. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  26. ^ "Alworths takes first steps into Scotland". 2 June 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  27. ^ "Official Opening Day at Alworths". 8 June 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "Retail Chain store Alworths to set up shop in Alloa". Forth Commercial. 27 June 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  29. ^ a b "First Alworths to get smaller". 30 July 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  30. ^ "Orchard Centre". Orchard Centre. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  31. ^ a b Carswell, Andy (24 August 2010). "Amersham alworths to close". Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  32. ^ Carswell, Andy (26 August 2010). "Waitrose to replace alworths in Amersham". Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  33. ^ Soult, Graham (7 March 2011). "Alworths' future uncertain as bailiffs seize Llandudno store". Soult's Retail View. Gateshead: Graham Soult. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 

External links[edit]