A number of site visitors suggested that we should include a list of store names and addresses, which they felt could help local historians. In response we prepared three documents and made them available for download from this page. We have recently added a fourth, older list from the era before the company started to manage its real estate more proactively by, for example, resiting into shopping centres or out-of-town, or joining major redevelopment schemes.
1959 marked F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.'s Golden Jubilee. It was riding the crest of a wave as Britain's most profitable retailer. Every investor was given a 9ct Gold Sheaffer Gold Pen, a pack of Playing Cards and a special dividend larger than any before or since.
The 'EO57' was one of the last publications to carry the 'Executive Office' New Bond Street address in Mayfair. It was issued just before it relocated to "the country at St Marylebone, amidst green fields near Lord's Cricket Ground". It shows nearly all of the first 1,012 stores. Just a handful had been compulsorily purchased or had not had their leases renewed. It describes the portfolio before moves into Shopping Centres or out-of-town began, and when the Board treated freeholds as a sacred trust rather than assets to be bought and sold. We have scanned and compressed the 12 page booklet into a PDF. You can download a copy below. Adobe's Reader software is also available.
Until 1971 the Company's proud boast was that only Mr Hitler had ever closed a Woolworth store. Executives had persevered with loss-making locations, often investing to try to secure a turnaround. The expense of converting to decimal currency forced a change in policy, prompting the sale of a number of freehold branches between 1970 and 1973. This store name and address list, which was first published in 1972, is the most comprehensive directory of British and Irish Woolworth stores, including even the branches the branches that had recently closed. The document is in Adobe PDF format.
Many of the large branches were closed and sold after the chain was taken over by Paternoster Stores (Kingfisher). But by the 1990s the new owners had started to open smaller outlets in the towns and cities abandonned in the Eighties.
The second list shows the names and addresses of the 800 stores operating in 1995, and also includes a list of the branches closed after the chain was taken over. This list includes an alphabetical index of the towns severed by a Woolies.
The final list shows the 818 British and Northern Irish stores that were trading in November 2008, when the business collapsed into Administration, as well as a handful of experimental shops-within-shops in the larger branches of the Somerfield supermarket chain.
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