Staff job fears as ‘New Woolworths’ looks for a buyer

TROUBLED TIMES Alworths in Cosham
TROUBLED TIMES Alworths in Cosham

Shoppers give Rowans boost

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RETAIL chain Alworths, which has an outlet in Cosham, has been placed into administration.

The company has been going through a restructuring just 18 months after opening as ‘the new Woolworths’, and rumours of administration surfaced at the beginning of March.

The Cosham store is keeping its doors open to the public, though empty shelves are becoming obvious as the store is not buying any new stock.

A sales assistant at the Cosham branch, who did not want to be named, said: ‘We went into administration on Monday. We’re not getting any new stock and we’ve been told we’re waiting for a buyer to take over. We’ve only been open for 13 months.’

The store is managed by Ray Weeks, who was also manager when the premises was a Woolworths outlet.

When the shop opened he employed former Woolworths staff to work in the store.

Mr Weeks said he could not comment on the administration, but told The News there were 12 staff working at the shop.

The contact details for Alworths are now Morrisons Solicitors in Redhill, Surrey.

Another company, set up for the purposes of administration called Retail Acquisitions Ltd, which has Alworths founder Andy Latham listed as director, is also registered to Morrisons Solicitors.

It means it is likely the Alworths business, which has 17 stores up and down the country, will be sold to a new company, in this case Retail Acquisitions, and the shops can trade as usual.

The administration is being carried out by Leonard Curtis Associates in London.

For shoppers in Cosham High Street, the news has not come as a surprise.

Dennis Knights, from Farlington, said: ‘The store it looks presentable, but there’s a limited number of lines, and they’re not even close to what Woolworths once was. I’m sad to see it go.’

Shopper Jean Thorne, of North End, said she had never bought anything in Alworths.

She added: ‘I went in there when it first opened and I’ve been in there a few times since, but I’ve always come out empty-handed.

‘They need a wider range of stock, it’s too limited.’

Christina Towers, of North End, added: ‘It’s not a patch on Woolworths.’