Today see the relaunch of Woolworths, not back on the high street but online. This has been a long awaited reopening while the new website has been developed and the logistical side of things put in place.
Woolworths used to employ around 27,000 people in the UK in the stores and the distribution sectors, but now the sales from the new Woolies website will be handled by a single distribution centre in Manchester which is run by the parent company Shop Direct. It is not expected that the new website will create any new jobs as it just needs a small marketing team to run the store.
The website looks good and you can get all of the usual Woolies goodies there including Ladybird kids clothes, pic and mix, electrical goods and general items for the home. I hope they still have more products to add to the site as the kids section is a bit lacking, plus can’t find any school uniform yet. They have the main store then Woolworths Party and Woolworths Entertainment as bolt on sites which are classed as partner sites.
The Woolworths store in Ripon is still empty, but on a different topic we are getting a new Booths supermarket which opens today! Some of the other Woolworths stores in the UK have been taken over by the likes of Iceland and the 99p store but its hard to imagine what will happen to most of the empty stores. It is very unlikely that Woolworths will return to the high street as it is so much more efficient for them to sell online which is what so many companies are finding.
Soon the high street will be empty with very few shops struggling to survive. My prediction is that when my kids grow up there will be property tycoons buying up the high street to turn the old derelict shops into luxury apartments … the same way the docklands and factories have been redeveloped over the last 15 years.