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As Poundland prepares to float, what are the secrets of “the new Woolies’” success?

Poundland, Hexham (19 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Poundland, Hexham (19 Nov 2011)

As Poundland gets ready to float on the London Stock Exchange this week, in a move expected to value the business at £750m – similar in size to JD Sports Fashion – it’s inevitably prompted analysis of just how Poundland has become so successful, so quickly.

When I wrote a … Continue Reading

I’ve now visited and tracked a quarter of the ex-Woolies estate – but what have they all become?

Former Woolworths, Newton Aycliffe (5 Jan 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths, Newton Aycliffe (5 Jan 2012)

Headlines:

  • 214 ex-Woolworths stores visited, out of the 807 that closed following its collapse
  • Of those, only 12 currently empty (6%)
  • 7 continually empty (3%)
  • 35 with two or more post-Woolies uses (16%).

Looking at my blog, you might be forgiven for thinking that I’ve forgotten about Woolworths in recent months.

It’s certainly true that the number of Woolies-related posts has slowed down a bit – partly due … Continue Reading

New-concept Wilko opens in Crawley’s ex-TJ Hughes store

Promotion for Crawley store on Wilkinson website (15 Aug 2012)

Promotion for Crawley store on Wilkinson website (15 Aug 2012)

Wilkinson’s “newest and most exciting concept store” has opened at 14-26 The Broadway in Crawley this morning (15 August).

Designed to “offer the community a more modern and interactive shopping experience”, the new store further evolves the modern look that Wilkinson has been rolling out across its estate, such as … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s revamped Wilkinson is better and brighter

Wilkinson, Newcastle (28 Jun 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Wilkinson, Newcastle (28 Jun 2012)

Since Wilkinson, the family-owned hardware and variety chain, quietly launched its new logo and store format over three years ago, the refreshed look seems to have been rolled out to much of the 370-strong estate. To the company’s credit, it hasn’t simply been a case of sticking a new logo over an unchanged store environment – … Continue Reading

From textured berber to veggie burgers: new uses for Devon’s old Woolworths

Poundstretcher (formerly Woolworths and Alworths), Tiverton (9 Sep 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Poundstretcher (formerly Woolworths and Alworths), Tiverton (9 Sep 2011)

With another shop-spotting visit to Devon scheduled for later this month, now seems like an opportune time to share the ex-Woolies photos that I took during my last trip to the county, back in September.

I blogged about the Sidmouth store (#729; now M&Co) last month, while the Tiverton ex-Woolies at 18 Fore Street (#404) … Continue Reading

Historic Alnwick’s original Woolworths – and a modern-day successor in Wilkinson

Original Woolworths location, Alnwick (31 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Original Woolworths location, Alnwick (31 Mar 2012)

In the same way as Houghton-le-Spring’s Woolworths was originally in a different location to where it ended up, I recently discovered that Alnwick, too, has a long-vacated ex-Woolies site. Having enjoyed my previous visit to … Continue Reading

Wombwell Poundstretcher’s Andrex window display is not flushed with success

Window display, Poundstretcher Wombwell (3 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Window display, Poundstretcher Wombwell (3 Nov 2011)

A few days ago, I blogged about how Poundstretcher in Newcastle needs to sell itself better in order to capitalise on the extra footfall generated by the opening of Discount UK opposite. … Continue Reading

As Discount UK opens in Newcastle, Poundstretcher watches

Discount UK (former Woolworths), Newcastle (4 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Discount UK (former Woolworths), Newcastle (4 Nov 2011)

Poundworld-owned variety retailer Discount UK has opened its Newcastle store today, with stilt walkers and free sweets on hand to welcome shoppers to the former Woolworths site.

I dropped by shortly after the store opened at 10am, and it seemed to have got off to a … Continue Reading

From Netto to Asda – checking out the Gateshead store’s transformation

Interior of Asda Supermarket, Gateshead (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Interior of Asda Supermarket, Gateshead (8 Aug 2011)

While some communities on Tyneside – among them North Shields and Wallsend – still have to wait a little longer for their Netto … Continue Reading

Store Twenty One adds another North East Woolies site to its portfolio

Former Woolworths, South Shields (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths, South Shields (8 Aug 2011)

The Indian-owned value fashion retailer, Store Twenty One, is to add a fourth North East ex-Woolies site to its estate, taking over the empty portion of the former Woolworths store in South Shields.

Poundland has occupied part of the ex-Woolies building in King … Continue Reading

Habitat, HomeForm, TJ Hughes: why is it H-H-Hell on the high street?

Habitat, Bristol (22 Feb 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Habitat, Bristol (22 Feb 2011)

It’s hard to dispute that the last couple of weeks has been a torrid time for the UK high street, with a succession of well-known names either announcing bad news or collapsing into administration.

While HMV has a stay of execution for now, other retailers in that section of the alphabet – Habitat, … Continue Reading

Readers’ ex-Woolies updates from Harrow and Finchley Road

Woolworths, South Harrow (31 Dec 2008). Photograph by Barry Marshall

Woolworths, South Harrow (31 Dec 2008). Photograph by Barry Marshall

Though I’ve paid several visits to London over the last year, I’ve still only scratched the surface as far as photographing the capital’s ex-Woolies stores is concerned.

One that I haven’t yet made it to is the still-vacant store in Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage (store #1214) – apparently the … Continue Reading

Good logo, bad logo – Gateshead’s revamped Wilkinson and Argos stores

Wilkinson, Gateshead (14 Feb 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Wilkinson, Gateshead (14 Feb 2011)

Given that a significant chunk of Gateshead town centre is currently flattened and awaiting redevelopment, it’s pleasing to see one of the town’s biggest retailers investing in its store.

Along with Tesco, the long-established Wilkinson store in the Interchange Centre is probably the town centre’s … Continue Reading

Belper’s fine mix of supermarkets and indie retailers

Former Woolworths (now Iceland), Belper (23 Dec 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now Iceland), Belper (23 Dec 2010)

Following on from my 2009 visit to Alfreton, Heanor and Ripley in Derbyshire, I was able to pay a fleeting visit this festive season to the nearby town of Belper – famous for its history of textile making, and today part of the … Continue Reading

West Ealing’s surprising former Woolies building

Woolworths building, West Ealing (24 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Woolworths building, West Ealing (24 Nov 2010)

While visiting London last month, I also found time to pay a visit to the interesting shopping area of West Ealing – home, as you would expect, to a former branch of Woolworths.

Part of the London Borough of Ealing, West Ealing is … Continue Reading

What’s become of North Yorkshire’s former Woolies?

Former Woolworths, Whitby (16 Aug 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths, Whitby (16 Aug 2010)

As well as comprehensively exploring the North East, and making the occasional excursion into Cumbria or Scotland, I’ve also clocked a few of North Yorkshire’s former Woolworths stores over the last few months.

Assuming I haven’t missed any, … Continue Reading

Peacocks flies into Tamworth’s Ankerside centre

Mall plan showing Peacocks (screenshot from 4 Aug 2010)

Mall plan showing Peacocks (screenshot from 4 Aug 2010)

I was interested to find out a few days ago that the fashion retailer Peacocks will soon be opening a store in my old home town of Tamworth, taking a prime spot within the town centre’s Ankerside mall.

Given that jobs in the store have been being advertised since June, and with the store … Continue Reading

A Woolies twist to every story

Former Zavvi, Newcastle (27 Sep 2009). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Zavvi, Newcastle (27 Sep 2009)

Well, that’s a surprise! I’ve only just discovered that I’ve been photographing and blogging about a former Woolworths store – here, and more recently here – without even realising it. 

While I was vaguely aware that there had been a … Continue Reading

Who or what is Clas Ohlson?

Clas Ohlson sign

With so many old Woolworths sites being taken over by familiar high street names and pound shops, it’s nice when the new arrival is something a little more interesting. So I was pleased to read that the Swedish “modern hardware brand” Clas Ohlson is going to be opening up in the former Woolies in Kingston upon Thames, and is also … Continue Reading

Wilkinson’s trial rebranding here to stay?

New (top) and old (bottom) Wilkinson logos

Over the last few months, you may have spotted the new Wilkinson logo – above – that has been quietly appearing on the retailer’s bags and own-brand product packaging.

I’m yet to read anything suggesting that the new logo is any more than a trial, linked to the testing of a new store format; certainly, the full rebrand seems to have been rolled out to only a … Continue Reading