|Headquarters||Unna, North Rhine-Westphalia|
F. W. Woolworth Co. GmbH was founded in 1927 as a subsidiary of the American company F. W. Woolworth Company. When still part of the parent company, corporate documents refer to the division as Retail Company of Germany, Inc.. The German subsidiary separated from its American parent company in 1998, through a management buyout. In October 2007, the British investment and consulting company Argyll Partners purchased the company.
The first store opened in Bremen. As at 2003 the chain had 340 outlets ranging from 400 to 4000 square metres in size with over 16,000 employees and sales of approximately € 1 billion.
Although its workforce had been trimmed to 11,000, on 14 April 2009, Woolworth GmbH board of directors voted to declare insolvency, as the chain was squeezed between discounters and more specialist retailers. More than half of the 311 outlets were expected to close within a few months.
The Tengelmann Group acquired 162 of the chain's stores in 2010. By the end of 2011, the number of stores in Germany had risen back to over 200. The new Woolworth GmbH has its headquarters in Unna, similar to chains such as KiK (founded in 1994), and TEDi, (founded in 2004). In February 2016 it opened its 300th store, and still plans to get back to 500 stores, although later than its initially stated target of 2015. Tengelmann has acquired the brand rights for a European expansion (excluding the UK), but as of 2016 has not yet opened a store outside Germany.