It's already more than ten years since this famous long-lived brand became just a page in the history books. Woolworths shops were once in nearly every town, but the retailer disappeared forever in 2009, with the loss of over 800 shops and 27,000 jobs.

Originally an American company founded by F. W. Woolworth, the tycoon loved Britain and started a transatlantic expansion programme, opening his first UK store in Liverpool in 1909.

The chain became a staple department store, offering a range of household goods at affordable prices. Over the century of its existence, Woolworths experimented with many different product lines such as clothing, books, music and video, restaurants, and – of course – pick and mix sweets. Their shops were always packed at Christmas due to their range of affordable gifts, decorations, dvds, toys, sweets and small electricals.

The company began to struggle at the turn of the century as consumer spending habits changed. The market for physical copies of music, one of Woolworths' main money spinners, shrank, supermarkets increasingly expanded into many of Woolworths' product areas, and the similar Wilkinson retail chain challenged it directly on the high street.

The loss of Woolworths is very much seen as emblematic of the decline of the High Street, and many of their premises remain empty to the day, as a sad reminder of teenage shopping sprees.

Further reading

Links to external websites are not maintained by Bite Sized Britain. They are provided to give users access to additional information. Bite Sized Britain is not responsible for the content of these external websites.