Could Woolies make a comeback?

The former Woolworths store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, in 2011
The former Woolworths store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, in 2011

Firm opens Portsmouth base

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THE former boss of high street favourite Woolworths says it’s ‘not impossible’ that the store could make a comeback.

The retailer, which had stores in Portsmouth, Gosport and Leigh Park, collapsed in 2008 after racking up debts of £400m but former boss plans to resurrect brand.

Tony Page, the company’s former managing director, said he has approached shopping giant Shop Direct, which owns the Woolworths brand, to repurchase the name in a bid of launching a series of stores.

‘I am still emotionally attached to it,” he told the Daily Star.

‘I still think it has got a role in the future. I have contacted Shop Direct and said “you’re not using the brand any more, would you consider giving it to someone who would?.’

Page added that he felt the stores would still be a ‘physical retailer’.

‘I feel as though if the brand name was available it would still be a possibility to bring it back [to high streets],’ he said.

‘I still absolutely think it would still be a physical retailer. I would want it to be much more a part of the community. The stores that really used to do well were those that were at the heart of the community, rather than being in the big shopping centres.’

Woolworths entered administration late in 2008 after racking up almost £400m in debt, with administrators Deloitte closing all the 807 stores between 27 December 2008 and 6 January 2009, which resulted in 27,000 job losses. Shop Direct purchased the name a month later and continued to operate Woolworths website until it closed down in 2015.