WOOLWORTHS has been back in the news this week, with the brand's boss suggesting that the much-loved retailer could make a return to Britain's streets.

The chain was a common sight in years gone by, with branches up and down the country.

Hereford was no exception, with a Woolworths branch opening in Eign Gate in 1925.

Hugely popular during happier times, the city shop had undergone a major renovation by 1963, with upper floors added. 

Originating in the US, Woolworths had opened its first shop in the UK, in Liverpool, in 1909.

But 100 years later, the company was hit hard by the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis and shut down all of its branches, including its Hereford shop, where the doors closed for the final time in January 2009.


The collapse of Woolworths saw a total of 27,000 people left unemployed, and hundreds of shops across the country lying empty.

Its demise has been blamed on cheaper competitors eating into its market share, with some analysts say it was also not able to keep up with online shopping.

Hereford's Eign Gate shop was later taken over by clothing chain Peacocks. The Eign Gate Peacocks shop closed in 2020, after 10 years in business.

But despite its shops having closed in Britain in 2009, the Woolworths brand in Germany, where it is known as Woolworth, was saved by HH Holding.

It has now been reported that current HH Holding chief Roman Heini seeks to expand internationally and says the UK is on his "bucket list" of destinations, although it is unclear where in the country would be top of the list.

Mr Heini - who has worked in executive positions in both Aldi and Lidl and has been Woolworth's chief executive since 2020 - told trade magazine Retail Week that despite the challenges of a cost-of-living crisis he had the opportunity to "make Woolworth great again".

However, a spokesperson told the magazine, "nothing is imminent", with the possibility that opening shops in Britain "may be in the mix for the mid- or long-term future".

Should it return to Britain, Woolworths could also look somewhat different to the brand Britons remember.

Previously, it was known for its variety of items including children's clothing brand Ladybird, CDs and the famous Woolies Pic'n'Mix confectionery.

But, with Mr Heini at the helm, Woolworth Germany now sells predominantly clothing and homeware, which he says is at "unbeatable prices".