Last month the Woolworths Local in Forest Gate was closed. Now the entire company is to follow. (BBC News: Woolworths enters administration)
Like so many others, I have memories of shopping at Woolies, but looking back it seems the store primarily filled in the gaps rather than offered anything distinctive. As a child it was the main toy shop in Epsom (and effectively the only one when John Menzies phased out their small section). It was also the only place in town with pick 'n mix. Later it was one of the main places to get videos/DVDs (and, in Forest Gate, the only one), especially as the music chains like Our Price and HMV were usually a bit more expensive. It's also been handy for general stationery requirements over the years.
But none of these are a distinctive section of the market. Woolworths always seemed a bit all over the place in terms of what it sold - for example when I was young I don't remember it stocking the magazines it does now (well did). It did a few books but I don't remember it getting anywhere near a supermarket best-seller section. And its video/DVD stock wasn't exactly awash with the longer shelf-life titles but nor did it feel like a current hot titles stock. One could go on.
Will we ever see a store like it? All business & marketing logic says not, but stranger things have happened...
You're right - it's one of those "odd" stores that's simply (and sadly) grown old and weary and just can't keep up with the competition any longer. Woolies, bless her, did loose her identity in the last few years, neither a stationary shop, nor a toy shop, nor a food shop. In my mind it was one of those shops you went to at Christmas for gifts for Aunty Flo and Uncle Bill...but since the demise of "single" records Kids age 15 and under chorus - "what's that Grandad?" - and the top ten chart, which kinda relied on Woolies sales...it's all gone a bit wrong for them. It's the staff who you really have to feel for though...nightmare time to have your job in the balance. :-(
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