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Woolworths, Ashford, England
Photograph: David Fowler /

Nostalgia alert! Woolworths could make a surprise return to UK high streets

Pick ‘n’ mix fans rejoice

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee

Woolworth’s existed as a paragon of British values on the high street for a century, with everything you could possibly need or want in one place – and for cheap prices. Woolies was forced to shut up shop (literally) 15 years ago, disappointing everyone who spent their childhoods at the pick ‘n’ mix and teen years aimlessly wandering through the aisles. 

However, in very exciting news, Woolworths could soon be set to make a shock return to the UKIn Germany, Woolworths, known there as just Woolworth, was saved by investors and still exists today. Now, they are looking to expand into the rest of Europe, including Britain. 

Roman Heini, CEO of the German branch, has mentioned that Britain is on his ‘bucket-list’ for expansions, though no formal plans have been made yet. He explained: ‘I don't know of any brands where the recognition will be as high as it is in Britain, without having any stores.’

If the brand does make a UK return, it is unclear on what scale it will be and within what sort of timeframe. 

When did Woolworths originally close?

The budget retailer closed its 807 stores in 2009, leaving in its wake 27,000 job losses and a gap in the market that the likes of Wilko (which has since been revived at a small number of locations) was able to capitalise on. Last year, Wilko also went into administration, meaning B&M now has a monopoly on low-cost miscellaneous goods in the UK. Good for them. 

Why did Woolworths close?

The long answer has to do with mortgage lenders and banks overspending. The short answer is that the 2008 financial crash left Woolworths with no money. On top of that, what was once a high-street giant hadn’t managed to capture the hearts of millennials as it did their parents, meaning its reputation was left gathering dust for a good couple of decades prior to its closure.

Have you seen the full list of high-street chains closing in 2024?

Plus: Häagen-Dazs could soon open 25 new ice-cream shops in the UK.

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