New Alworths stores for Newark and Maidenhead
‘Son of Woolies’ chain Alworths has had a quiet spell since opening a flurry of stores (in Llandudno, Newhaven and Hertford) at the end of the summer, but an Independent interview with MD Andy Latham last week suggested that there would be “a further five ribbon-cutting ceremonies… before Christmas.”
We now have a good idea of where four of those are likely to be. Alworths’ own recruitment website is advertising jobs at new stores in Newark, in Nottinghamshire, and in the Berkshire town of Maidenhead (screenshot above). Meanwhile, local news websites have suggested that two more Scottish stores – in Lanark and Bellshill – could be in the offing too.
While the prospective Lanark and Bellshill stores are both vacant former Woolworths sites, neither Newark nor Maidenhead is likely to be. Maidenhead’s old Woolies is now Wilkinson, while the history of Woolies in Newark is a little more complex.
I understand that Newark’s in-town Woolies, in Stodman Street, had closed down even before the chain’s collapse, with business moving to a much larger site on the Northgate Retail Park. While the old town centre Woolies site now houses Dorothy Perkins and Superdrug, the out-of-town site was set to be divided up into smaller units – but, at 8,000 to 10,000 sq ft, still a little on the large size for an Alworths, even if the retailer were interested in out-of-town locations (which it appears not to be).
To date, the Alworths in Alloa, Clackmannanshire and the relocated Didcot shop are the only ones of the retailer’s 14 stores not to be located within former Woolworths premises. However, with only about 150 Woolies sites left, and Alworths now planning a chain of up to 200 shops, it’s inevitable that non-Woolies locations will begin to account for a growing proportion of the expanding store estate.