Saturday, December 27, 2008

Woolworths: Zero Hour

Our local Woolworths closed today. You would need to have a heart of stone not to feel some sadness walking round the battered shelves knowing that all those who worked there would be without a job at 5.30pm. What began over 99 year ago is now ending. A shop that in its prime was valued by millions of Britons. Although it declined since then and no longer offered anything that other shops couldn't offer better, it is still part of the fabric of the British town with branches in over 800 towns.

Over two hundered Woolworth branches closed today. The remainder will follow in the next week or so.

The atmosphere in our local Woolworths was both sad but resigned. The staff seems remarkably cheery. It is good that they seem to be able to keep things in perspective. One can only hope that they are offered a job by another shop or go onto better things. Our local Woolworths like many others occupies a "prime" location on the High Street.

When Napoleon dismissed Britain as a "nation of shopkeepers" it was meant as an insult. What he failed to realise was that many Britons saw it as a compliment. A shop, amongst other things, is a place of service and community.

The photos below were all taken today and record the passing of a British retail institution:
By the end prices were 90 % off everything. However there was little to buy.
Battered shelves

Empty shelves

A scene of desolation in the heart of a British retail institution

Even the shelves are all fittings were for sale

Everything has been sold

There is not much left apart from the notices

Prime retail real estate on the High Street

A cold dreary day just after Christmas sees the end of Woolworths

Last orders

The day started with 70 % reductions. By the end it was 90 % off everything

The shelves that have sold greetings cards marking occasions for most of the last century are finally empty

Woolworths just missed it's 100th birthday. It goes after 99 years on the British High Street.

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