Friday, 17 April 2009

The Wonder of Woolies

Although Woolworths' demise from the high street is now one-quarter of a year past, not many days pass without comment or reflection about the post-Woolworth impacts on town centres and upon other businesses. Today we hear from the Retail Bulletin that "Original Factory Shop" is to take various post-Woolworths sites and is also aiming to recruit former Woolworths colleagues into their ranks. They argue, so it is inferred, that the sites lend themselves to the "Original Factory Shop" trade and that the Woolies people will be well trained retailers who will need little or no input to help the "OFS" to gain market share and increasing business.

I can see no fault in the idea; on behalf of the town centres who once hosted a Woolworths, I welcome the plan that will do much to help fill otherwise darkened spaces amongst many shadowy places - not to mention the good news for the people who lost their jobs, a light at the end of their tunnel too!

Not for the first time, what I am wondering is whether, and by how much, the local SME retail communities have sought and gained business that had hitherto been captured by Woolworths. It seems to me that a good number of other, larger, businesses are making their mark. With the exception of the well publicised efforts of the manager and her colleagues at the renamed Wellworths in Dorchester, I have not seen much other evidence for small businesses making hay in the Woolworth meadow. But, perhaps it is because these businesses are so local that those of us a distance off simply fail to see it - if you know otherwise, leave a comment!