Woolworths owners say they are not behind high street return announcement

Rumours of one of the UK’s most missed retailers making an unexpected comeback got Brits very excited this morning.

A Twitter account claiming to be from Woolworths said the store was returning to the high street, with three trial outlets due to open late 2021.

A flood of nostalgia ensued, with people reminiscing over the famous pick ‘n’ mix and buying top 40 singles on CD.

One person shared a picture of his nametag from the 1990s and said he was ‘ready to report for duty’ while another said: ‘As a former employee of Woolworths PLC, I am incredibly proud to see the name back out there! How can I get involved?!’

Yes, even Metro.co.uk was fooled for a brief moment, but a faulty link to a website on the account’s bio raised doubts of the announcement’s legitimacy.

People were quick to point out Twitter posts from the account misspelling the name as as ‘Woolsworths’, further fuelling people’s doubt.

Others asked if plans for a comeback would be made during a pandemic at a time when high streets up and down the country are struggling.

The Very Group – who took over the trademark in 2015 – have since confirmed that the tweet is not connected to them in any way, crushing people’s hopes for some good news this year.

Woolworths, famous for its pick ‘n’ mix sweets, children’s clothes, homewares, CDs and DVDs went into administration in 2008 after racking up £400million in debt. The last of its UK outlets were closed in January 2009.

In an announcement this morning, the newly made Woolworths UK Twitter account said: ‘Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!

‘A couple of legal things to get sorted, but we’re full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ. We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?’

A spokesperson for The Very Group commented: ‘We own the Woolworths trademark in the UK. The Twitter account UKWoolworths is not connected to The Very Group.’

Once a staple of high streets across the country, Woolworths, known affectionately as ‘Woolies’, collapsed between December 27, 2008 and January 6, 2009.

Around 27,000 jobs were lost as 807 stores closed their doors after administrators Deloitte struggled to find a buyer.

In 2009, Littlewoods owner Shop Direct bought the trademark and sold to customers online through Woolworths.com – but it just wasn’t the same for people with fond memories of the pick ‘n’ mix.

The name was finally dropped in 2015 and Woolworths.com became Very.com, the Retail Gazette reports.

In April 2017, former Woolworths director Tony Page hinted that the brand could return to the high street.

He told the Daily Star: ‘I am still emotionally attached to it. I still think it has got a role in the future.

‘I have contacted Shop Direct and said, “you’re not using the brand anymore, would you consider giving it to someone who would?”‘

Mr Page said he would like to bring back Woolies in a ‘similar format’ but would like to see them placed at the ‘heart of communities’ rather than in big shopping centres.

The former Asda director tried to buy the chain almost immediately after its collapse and even sold his home in the process, but his £10million offer was beaten by Shop Direct.

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