Woolworths could make shock return to Sheffield

Woolworths in Sheffield in 1978.
Woolworths in Sheffield in 1978.
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Woolworths could make a shock return to Sheffield, years after the financial collapse which wiped out the high street giant.

Former director Tony Page has revealed that he has approached brand owner Shop Direct to buy the name Woolworths back with plans to open smaller stores "at the heart of the community".

The Hillsborough branch before its closure.

The Hillsborough branch before its closure.

He would bring Woolies back in a "similar format" but would place stores in communities, rather than in major shopping centres, it has been reported.

The retailer left the coountry shocked when it closed its doors nationwide following the 2008 global economic crash, with the slowed rate of consumer spending hit hard.

By the time it entered administration, Woolworths had built up debts of around £400 million, leading to the disappearance of its 800 stores from UK high streets by 2009 and redundancies for around 27,000 employees.

Mr Page told the Daily Star: "I am still emotionally attached to it. I still think it has got a role in the future. I have contacted Shop Direct and said 'you're not using the brand anymore, would you consider giving it to someone who would?'"

Rather than join the mass of online retailers, Mr Page added he sees the brand's return as being mostly in the form of bricks and mortar stores.

He said: "They have taken the website down, so I'm curious now as to what might happen next because I still think the brand has got some propriety in spite of what happened in the past.

"I feel as though if the brand name was available it would still be a possibility to bring it back (to our high streets)."

The firm had a number of Sheffield stores during its history, including one on The Moor and another at Hillsborough.