please empty your brain below

The passing of Woolies is quite sad. As my wife notes, the closure will leave M&S as the sole purveyor of childrens clothes in our town - not great.

I'm sad as Woolworths was my first ever employer.

Very sad. My last purchase in Woolies was yesterday - a fold-away shopping bag and a roll of sellotape. How tragic.

All stores are still receiving deliveries I'm informed. It's just that the locusts are there as soon as any new things come it. Of course, if those same people had shopped there previously, things wouldn't be at the stage they are now.

And, at my local one at least, no-one has actually been given a closing/firm redundancy date. Staff told me that they are getting more news from the media and customers than from their own management. Not a good way for things to be handled.

A few more lost High Street names:

Bust: Allders, Fopp, Maples
Closed: C&A

Taken over:
Somerfield (becomes Co-op in 2009)
Virgin Megastore (Zavvi)
Littlewoods (Primark)
Safeway (Morrisons)
Our Price (Virgin)
Dillons (Waterstones)
Midland Bank (HSBC)

Further back:
Dunns menswear (1993)
John Collier ("John Collier, the window to watch") 1980s

Envelopes, shoelaces, brown paper. Oh dear.
You still haven't got the hang of this shopping lark, DG. When you see a sign saying maximum discount half-price, you're supposed to go mad and buy a whole lot of stuff you don't need.

Allders still lives on in Croydon but I believe that is the only store trading under that name.

C&A (Clemens and August in case you ever wondered) is alive and well on the continent but they chose to cease trading in the UK. In no sense did they go bust. For one thing, unusually, they weren't a company but were privately owned by individuals and so it is arguable whether they were capable of going bust in the accepted sense of the term.

That's why I wrote Closed for C&A.

Must tell myself off for not reading that correctly.

But I had forgotten that Allders rose again in its home town.

Dear Bashful

a major loss in central London was Dickins and Jones (closed 2006) - it was once the only place to go for decent outwear - especially winter coats.

I suspect department stores like Debenhams are very vulnerable too.

Where will people without cars get garden supplies and homewares now? The best value purchase I ever made was 10 raspberry canes for £5 at Woolies - raspberries for tea every day for July in perpetuity. Now there's an investment...

Where will people without cars get garden supplies and homewares now?

Robert Dyas yo.

Fopp's still going strong, at least, the one on Cambridge Circus in Covent Garden is

I feel so sorry for those poor buggers that work, and soon to be worked, in Woolies.

I tried to go to the Enfield Town branch last week but the store closed at 4pm on my chosen day. People were outside being annoyed that it had closed early and saying "no wonder it has gone down the pan". I just looked in and saw the sad faces of the staff being told something by a Suited Grim Reaper.

My parents met at Dickins & Jones. As for Woolies, the Stratford branch was pretty-much stripped bare when I looked yesterday. I think it all went wrong when they got rid of the gold-on-red "F.W.Woolworth & Co.Ltd" fascia!

...and I saw a lady with a C&A bag yesterday at King's Cross (she'd just come back from Lille via Eurostar)

C&A left Britain after they finally realised that nobody in the UK wanted to wear lime green acrylic jumpers

Well DG, your posting regarding empty shelves caused me to take a walk around my local Woolies, (NW9) and as you can see in the short video the shelves seem to be quite populated around here still. However, it seems that some product lines are depleted and only the tatty stuff is left. Also, I noticed that they are stubbornly refusing to discount lots of items any further. I was tempted by the monochrome breadbin though ...

Shame about Woolies-I remember when I was a kid my mum used to take me to the Lewisham branch,
I loved the steak & kidney pie and banana milkshake.. Any news on the Lewisham branch ?

@Colin in Thailand.. I don't always agree with your comments.. but this time I do..

As I kid in the 1960s, it was a treat to get a banana milkshake at Woolies most Saturday mornings..
I seem to remember the wooden floors, as well as the gas lighting that doubled up as heating.. and toy counters being full of monkeys called 'Jacko' (no joke intended here) that only could be purchased there.

@smeeg.. you smugness is not funny.. My local C&A is generally full of British tourists buying their underwear.. I won't repeat that old joke any further.. seriously though, Brits flock to C&A here..

Gordon said..
Further back:
Dunns menswear (1993)
John Collier ("John Collier, the window to watch") 1980s

Of course there were also:
Bata shoe shops
Burtons (the Taylors)
Lyons Tea houses
Home and Colonial Stores
Dunns Taylors, these and many other High Street names have now gone.
(C&A continie in mainland Europe as do Bata.)

I think Woolworth closing is sad for many people as they have childhood memories.
"Household Brand" paint, "Sunshine" light bulbs, "Embassy" records, "Ladybird" clothes. All once from Woolworths.

Wasn't John Collier originally the "Fifty Shilling Tailors"? (Like Woolworth's "6d stores" tag a name destined to become outdated.)

The gas lights had sort of mesh around the opaque glass globes and were operated by chains. Never saw the in use so I guess they were for emergencies. And there was always a large weighing machine in the front of the store. These too, plus the wooden floors, just disappeared without ceremony when the stores were modernised.

I have very fond memories of Woolworths, and I am truly devastated to see it go. It was always one of my favourite High Street stores, and it's quite sobering to think that, soon, I will never again be able to pop in there and treat myself to some cheap DVDs or stationery, or indeed the famous pic'n'mix.

I think Woolworths should have bitten the bullet and implemented a refurbishment programme for its stores, as many looked like they were in desparate need of a lick of paint. In its advertising, they could also have emphasised its unique selling point, the pic'n'mix, so that it stood out from the competition. Alas, this was not to be...

Is there any more news on the stores in Enfield Town, Waltham Cross, Watford or St. Albans? In addition, does anyone remember Index, Courts, Rumbelows or Kwik Save? What about when Iceland was called Bejam? Our High Streets have changed a lot in the past couple of decades, haven't they?

Timothy Whites & Taylors, chemists and housewares, were a household name with 622 stores. They were bought out by Boots in 1968.

PS: Nothing to do with Woolworths, I admit, but it does illustrate how the commercial tide ebbs and flows.

My first job was as a Saturday girl in Croydon Woolies, I earned 2/- an hour with 3d stopped for Nat Ins. (= 10p an hr) 8hrs of hard slog selling the haberdashery. I was 15 yrs old & I hated it. Left after a few weeks to pack bags in a mini-supermarket; in those days you had a boy or girl to pack those groceries for you, and carry out to the car if needed. My pay went up to 2/6 an hour, with a free lunch! It was a small shop next to 'Caters' in Croydon. They went bust too I think. Years later when my kids were small, I worked in Bejams, and if your till was 20p short, they deducted it out of your wages. No wonder I took up book-keeping, a soft job compared to shop work.

Wasn't Index Littlewoods version of Argos? (Which emerged from Green Shield showrooms)

@Johnny Topaz:

Fopp in Cambridge Circus is indeed in operation but is only "going strong" following its closure and subsequent purchase by HMV. I think that most of the other branches have remained closed.

Woolies sadly lost their way with their customers, they tried to diversify too much and found that every one of the departments could be trounced by another high street shop doing it better. Eg the 'record bar' (you may have had to have worked in Woolies to know it as that!) was trumped by HMV, the confectionary by supermarkets, the DIY by B&Q etc. And what is worse, instead of capitalising on their good points, they tried to compete with stores that specialised.

I'd be interested to see how WHSmiths and Homebase are holding up in the current climate... again, both are stores that have lost their way and are getting thumped by others cornering their market...

Andrewh, Woolies did refurbish a selection of stores less than eighteen months ago, but it didn't really help; they just shifted a few shelves round and put new flooring in.
My local one (which I overlook out of the window) closes on 27/12.

The Boys from Rathbone Street

It never struck me for a moment that dg would get it wrong in terms of announcing that Woolworths had gone into Liquidation

On the other hand, I'll never forget hearing one news programme where the announcer was talking about some insolvent retailer, and said that all of its stock would be liquidised

Hmmm. Don't ask me which news programme or which retailer. I can't remember

TridentScan | Privacy Policy