[14], 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. 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 first store was on Church Street in Liverpool and sold children's clothing, stationery and toys from the very beginning. The store was re-opened, but closed in 1986. Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!

[95] 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. The company announced it would relaunch Woolworths as an online retail store. The fire soon spread, owing to the failure of the sprinkler system; this led to administration staff frantically dis-assembling the computer and passing parts of it, along with stock cards and other records, out of windows onto waiting lorries. [32], One of Woolworths' flagship stores, on Briggate in Leeds, suffered a major fire in 1969. On 5 December 2008, Woolworths recorded their greatest single day takings of £27 million, and axed 450 head office and support staff jobs. [104] 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. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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. [9], In February 2009, Shop Direct Group purchased the Woolworths trademark and internet address, which continued as a retail website until its closure in June 2015. Before then it had been one of the most loved and visited shops - with 807 stores operating across the country and 27,000 staff.

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. It later became a joint venture between a number of record companies. The company was the name behind the online bookseller Alphabetstreet and music site Audiostreet. Many Woolworths branches were downsized during this time. When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. 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. 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. A social media account claiming to be Woolworths said on Twitter the firm was reopening stores in the UK in a return to the high street — but it quickly emerged that it was a hoax.

[111] Chad Valley first appeared exclusively in the Autumn/Winter 2009 Argos catalogue. Over 100 fire fighters attended the blaze and they managed to save two-thirds of the building with no loss of life. However, the project did not proceed beyond the market research phase. [47] Theo Paphitis, owner of stationery retailer Ryman, also stated his interest in the company.[48]. This finding would have consequences for later safety legislation. According to an unverified Twitter account, the store was set to make a return in 2021 but it quickly emerged to be untrue. The 400th branch, at Southport, Lancashire, opened on 12 July 1930, and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1931. They said: "We can't wait to be back!

[96] The majority of those who perished were in this area. The Woolworths store chain was the main enterprise of the group.

The expansion was funded entirely out of earnings and without any borrowing or further capitalisation. [85] By January 2011, 18 stores had been opened, although in April the company also entered administration and closed.[86].

[83], According to press reports on 17 February 2009, 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. The UK Court of Appeal referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union which partially disagreed with the unions by an important decision of 30 April 2015. 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. 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 Group and Poundland.[68]. On 1 February 2009, Shop Direct purchased the Ladybird brand and whole rights from the administrators of Woolworths Group. Chad Valley was launched in 1991 to create an own label range of merchandise. It was later renamed Wellchester. Some larger-format stores were opened under the Big W brand, similar to Wal-Mart in the US.

In December 2008, Woolworths executive Tony Page was trying to raise around £30,000,000 to relaunch the brand after closure with a chain of 125 stores.

A social media account claiming to be Woolworths said on Twitter the firm was reopening stores in the UK in a return to the high street — but it quickly emerged that it was a hoax. On 6 May 1971, a fire broke out at the main distribution depot at Rochdale, Lancashire. Woolworths Group Plc., et al.

[97] The site became an amusement arcade for many years, until the building owners evicted the tenants in favour of a building renovation to house a 157-room Travelodge, a Morrisons convenience store, and Zizzi and Nandos restaurants.[98][99][100]. Streets Online, founded in 1996 by Stephen Cole, was one of the pioneers of online retailing in the UK.

The Americans offered help, but the British company were keen to prove their worth. By 1923 there were 130 branches, and William Lawrence Stephenson (1880–1963) became managing director. ", Carson, Peck C. (personal communication 11 June 1909). 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. [102] In November 2007 the company acquired the book wholesaler and distributor Bertram Books.[103]. Woolworths sold many goods and had its own Ladybird children's clothing range, Chad Valley toys, and WorthIt! It also owned other companies such as the entertainment distributor Entertainment UK, and book and resource distributor Bertram Books. In October 1984, the Woolworths stores in the Republic of Ireland were closed. value range.

[46] Woolworths scrapped its interim dividend in September 2008, after it announced a pre-tax loss of £99.7m for the six months to 2 August.

In early days many Woolworths stores had cafes in them.

When Kingfisher bought this 85%, the remaining 15% was owned by Sky New Media Ventures (part of BSkyB).

[11] Frank Woolworth had ancestry in Woolley, Cambridgeshire— Frank claimed he had traced his ancestry through the Founding Fathers of the district to a small "farm in middle England". Older branches in major cities were sometimes almost as large as the major department stores nearby. [12] When Frank eventually travelled to England in 1890,[13] 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. [6] Deloitte closed all 807 Woolworths stores between 27 December 2008 and 6 January 2009, resulting in 27,000 job losses.

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. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.

This venture was very successful at the time, but was eventually killed off when other record companies started to issue compilation albums. In 1982, the British Woolworths was acquired by Paternoster Stores Ltd, the forerunner of Kingfisher plc. The fire, which started in the second floor furnishing department, killed ten shoppers and one member of staff;[94] of whom three were found just six feet away from an exit with another three bodies nearby. A policeman suffered concussion after he was blown off his feet by the blast from the device, and a female civilian was cut by flying debris.[101]. Ladybird is a brand of children's wear for children aged 0–10 years which was sold exclusively in Woolworths stores. 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. [62], On 19 January 2009, the owner, Woolworths Group, announced its intention to also enter administration, as it could no longer pay its debts.