Decade since demise of re­tail gi­ant left void in High Street

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Woolworths: A Decade On - By Gerry War­ren gwar­[email protected]­m­

It’s been 10 years since “The Won­der of Woolworths” dis­ap­peared from town cen­tres up and down the coun­try, in­clud­ing in our dis­trict.

Busi­ness pun­dits say the com­pany lost its di­rec­tion in the chang­ing world of re­tail­ing, but many mourned the pass­ing of what was once a house­hold name.

For cus­tomers, a trip to the store, which formed an in­te­gral part of the High Street fur­ni­ture, holds fond child­hood mem­o­ries.

It be­came a weekly treat to pop along and scoop up pick ‘n’ mix or cut price bro­ken bis­cuits.

Known af­fec­tion­ately as “Woolies”, it had branches in Can­ter­bury, Herne Bay, Whit­stable and Faver­sham, where shelves were crammed with a di­verse range of goods from light­bulbs and gar­den tools to long player records.

Gen­er­a­tions were kit­ted out in its own Lady­bird chil­dren’s cloth­ing range.

But the re­tail chain also fell vic- tim to the re­ces­sion and even­tu­ally went into ad­min­is­tra­tion with the loss of thou­sands of jobs, in­clud­ing many long-serv­ing staff.

News of its im­mi­nent shut­down prompted mas­sive queues of cus­tomers wait­ing for the doors to open to pick up a last-minute bar­gain.

The Can­ter­bury site is now a Pound­land, Whit­stable and Herne Bay’s stores are both Ice­land su­per­mar­kets, and Faver­sham’s is BK Home­wares.

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