Stockton’s original Woolies – and the current state of the town’s High Street

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6 Responses

  1. those are some pretty nice pictures of stockon well done!

  2. john says:

    Further to the above comments about temporary lets, it looks like alworths has that sort of arrangement at their Amersham branch.

    See:

    http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/8350437.Amersham_alworths_to_close/

  3. John says:

    There is a bit of a similarity between old Woolworths premises and disused railways. In some cases, it is obvious years or decades afetr the closure, in other cases, if you look carefully you can spot it, in other cases you would never know.

    At the time that Woolworths failed, property commentators predicted that 500 shops could stand empty for years. Latest reports are that 300 are empty and that 150 of those might never see retail use again.

    See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11053818

    I suspect that if you factor in landlords letting stores on terms that are adverse from their own point of view just to avoid paying the rates, and temporary lets to tenants they would once have turned their noses up at, the 500 figure is possibly not that far off the mark.

    At the time of demerger, it was said that almost all of the roughly 200 freeholds that Woolworths still owned were sold and leased back on excessive rents in order to release capital on property that was posssibly otherwise unsellable.

    Perhaps those 200 mentioned above loosely correspond to sites now considered wothless in retail terms.

    It would be an interesting exercise, if possible, to calculate what Woolworths financial position would have been at the end of 2008, had they been demerged owning those shops and without the debt that they started off with.

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