The Wonder That Was Woolworths

Today, sadly, Woolworths went into administration. This looks like the demise of one of the fixtures of British High Streets (though the company started in the US) since ever I can remember. 99 years in fact. Some of their original shops were Art Deco too.

Another source of sadness is that doctorvee works part-time in the Kirkcaldy branch, so it’s like a personal blow.

It is the latest, but will not be the last, victim of the credit crunch. The company is probably viable on a day to day basis but its creditors wanted their money back. Since this has forced Woolies into administration they will now most likely not get it (or at least not all of it.)

There had been attempts to sell it to someone else for £1 and they would take the debt over, but these have fallen through.

Most likely the immediate reason for today’s administration is that the staff were due to be paid tomorrow and the money wasn’t readily available for that; or their bank (Barclay’s) wouldn’t make it available.

Ironically, Woolies’s cash flow was probably quite good this week as they have had a 20% off offer on everything (only 10% on DVDs and electrical goods.) The Kirkcaldy store has certainly been busy. Yet I suppose these moneys would not have got through the system in time to prevent the administration.

While supermarkets have been expanding into most product areas and therefore undermining them and the rise of £ shops undercut them, Woolies was still the only place in the High Street where you could be sure of buying certain items – ironmongery and sewing thread spring to mind here and in Kirkcaldy their selection of sweets was greater than their competitors – so it will certainly be missed.

Some stores may be saved but most will soon have disappeared.

So it goes.

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  1. Bigrab

    Some will say that Woolies failed to adapt to modern trends. However They have shown great commitment to our town centres and the loss of the Helensburgh and Dumbarton stores would be a real blow. I’m a Woolies regular and I hope they survuve in some form, particularly the town centre branches which do seem to be pretty busy.

  2. jackdeighton

    It seems it is big city stores that were doing worst. I don’t want to raise false hopes but smaller town stores like Dumbarton, Helensburgh and even Kirkcaldy might be saved. But everything’s going to hell in a handcart; so who knows…..

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