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Life after F.W. Woolies

WildRose52
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Posts: 507
Registered: 23-02-2010

Life after F.W. Woolies


It`s now some 15 months since the last remaining F.W.Woolworths` stores shut their doors.
Just wondering what everyone else`s ex-woolworths branches turned into?
Reason I`m posting this is because I was gob-smacked last night to read in our local rag
all the derogatory comments just because ours is going to open up as a branch of `Poundland`
next month.
Locals were basically saying : `dont want another cheap store` - whilst others were saying `a
Primemark would have been better`  (as if Primemark itself is not a cheap store!) lol.
Based on my own experience of having bought from Poundland whenever I go visit family, I found
much of their wares extremely good, and in particular all the `brand makes` insofaras items
like shampoos, coffee, multi-pks of crisps etc etc.
I cant comment on their non-brand makes because I havent bought any of those other than
for a set of glass drinks coasters (and those have been complimented on several times)
So, what has your former F.W.Woolworths turned into?
Did you ever use Woolworths?  (I rarely did)
and do you now find the new retail outlet to be more beneficial?
Just curious, what all these stores ended up as, and was it for better or worse LOL.

26 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Fat Face - and no I am not being rude  Grin and I have no idea how good or bad it is as I haven't been in it
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

That's either a very big Fat Face or it was a very small Woolies!
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Loombucket
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

The (quite large) Woolies site in Loombucket's Retreat is still empty - I'm thinking of making them an offer for it as it'd make a great campaign headquarters for the C.R.A.P. (it'd be better than the phone box I'm currently using) but right now I haven't got change for a tenner.  Smiley
Community Veteran
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Possibly a bit of both but certainly the Wimborne Woolies was rather small
Midnight_Caller
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

See Photo for Woolworths Middlesbrough stor that was sold off to Dixons Group a number of years a go!   Sad
I went in to it a lot, but I did not go in the the one in the hill street center middlesbrough much.
WildRose52
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Registered: 23-02-2010

Re: Life after F.W. Woolies


Not sure I should ask:  but what exactly is `Fat Face`?
Never even heard of em.
What a strange name.
Judging by what MidnightCaller said:  looks like some stores sold out early then.
I`m quite looking forward to Poundland - brand name bargains cant go wrong.
I would have thought given the current economic climate it would have been more
welcomed by ppl in my neck of the woods.
Trouble is, alot of pound shops can be tacky - and Poundland is more the exception
to that.
pierre_pierre
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Apparently a Womens Clothing  seller
Of the stores near us
Chelmsford - part Lakeland Plastics
Halstead - a cheap shop - not poundland
Braintree Iceland
Bury St Edmunds - empty
But Iceland in Braintee moved out three years ago, M&S - food moved in, now it is Poundland and Icleand just opened in the old Wollies
Midnight_Caller
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

History of  Woolworths down fall
[quote="From My Archive of Woolworths Museum"]
On 11th August 1980 the F. W. Woolworth Chairman Geoffrey Rogers wrote to all stores and offices to tell them that the Board had successfully purchased B&Q Retail Limited - a chain of 33 Do-It-Yourself stores which had successfully gone public the previous year.  It was a logical step in progressing the Board's declared strategy of setting up a DIY Division to expand market share in Do-It-Yourself and Gardening.
Takeover Panel restrictions meant that the Board could not inform colleagues of the negotiations until the deal was done, but Rogers could commend it to everyone.  He had no plans to integrate the businesses.
B&Q was founded in 1968 by David Quayle (left) and Richard Block, opening its first store in Portswood Road, Southampton.  Block left the business in 1976, while Quayle led it through a successful stock market flotation and led the negotiations with Woolworths.  
At the takeover B&Q had 39 stores, some in High Street premises and some in converted cinemas and storage units - all branded "B&Q Supercentres".   David Quayle joined the Woolworth Board, taking responsibility for developing a new format for Woolworths large City Centre stores alongside his role as Chairman of B&Q.
Press coverage of the acquisition was not positive.  The media already felt that Woolworth's drive up-market was ill-timed at a time of economic recession, thinking the company would have been wiser to stick with the formula from the 1950s and 60s.  They believed that the bubble had already burst in the DIY sector and Woolies were too late and had paid too much.
Store Managers were critical too.  They questioned the wisdom of closing flagship Woolworth stores in Oxford Street and Kensington High Street to fund the acquisition. Was this the beginning of the end, they asked.  Chairman Geoffrey Rogers explained that throughout its life Woolworth had evolved and (as a Woolworth man of forty years service) he was convinced that Frank Woolworth would also have continued to move the formula on.  His interview is insightful and flies in the face of suggestions that Woolworth was moribund and had no vision.
Rogers: Obviously you have to pay a premium to get into something that someone else has built ... We have made a decisive and confident purchase.  The pundits may not agree, but I feel strongly that DIY, which is really the basis of a much broader home improvement market, is in many ways only in its infancy.  In ten years' time, long after I've retired, I believe Woolworth will have more than 100 big B&Q outlets, and we'll be very glad we got in when we did.
Interviewer: How much integration will there be between Woolworth and B&Q?
Rogers: We will offer them any sites we have in mind for out-of-town home improvement centres ... but at the moment I am anxious not to interfere. They have a good team...  I see the home improvement business being dominated by two or three out-of-town giants in much the way that food has been taken over by the Tescos and the Asdas.
(From WOOLWORTH  Management Quarterly
Autumn 1980)

For the record Rogers put his money where his mouth was, closing two further flagship stores to buy Dodge City (a Scottish DIY retailer) for B&Q and curtailing the Woolworth refurbishment programme to fund new store openings for the Chain, opening 12 new stores by the end of 1981 and acquiring two stores in the Channel Islands.   And in 1989 - the "ten years time" horizon that he spelt out in the interview B&Q generated £76.4m profit with a 7% market share of the entire Repair, Maintenance and Improvement market in the UK, by far the biggest player out of town - with well over 100 shops.

Geoff Rogers had a strong personal commitment to openness with the City and the media.  He actively engaged them about the potential of the new DIY business and Woolworths' other strategies.  Some people listened, some people didn't.  The consortium that became Kingfisher clearly saw the potential of B&Q and helped to realise the dream of the Woolworth management - but not as part of Woolworths.

Kingfisher Sold Off Most of the Woolworths stors.
pierre_pierre
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Kingfisher group also owned Comet in its hay day, at that time, Woolies, B&Q, Comet, Superdrugs and Screwfix
198kHz
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Elgin's (Moray) Woollies is now a Poundland.
I use it occasionally for the same reason I used Woollies occasionally - for those little knick-knacks you can't find elsewhere.
Not young enough to know everything
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

Quote from: WildRose52
Not sure I should ask:  but what exactly is `Fat Face`?
Never even heard of em.
What a strange name.

Have you never seen anyone walking around with a T-shirt with their logo?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Midnight_Caller
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

No I have not seen anyone walking around with a T-shirt with their logo in it.
Community Veteran
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies

They wouldn't dare on Teesside  Grin
WildRose52
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Re: Life after F.W. Woolies


Nor have I.
Just checked for my nearest branch and its some 20 odd miles away.
http://www.fatface.com/Store-Finder/page/storelocator