What happened to Woolworths UK

The owner of the Woolworths trademark in the UK has spoken out over reports that the brand is returning to the UK high street.

The original Woolworths once had a branch on town and city centre high streets the length and breadth of the UK. The brand, known for selling clothes, sweets, CDs, DVDs and more, fell into administration in 2008, closing every one of its UK stores by 2009.

Rumours on social media earlier today claimed that the former high street giant could make a return, with a Woolworths-branded Twitter account suggesting three trial stores could open in late 2021.

But a spokesman for the Very Group, which owns the UK trademark for Woolworths and ran the Woolworths online store until 2015, has now spoken out, and denied any connection with the latest reports.

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A statement said: We own the Woolworths trademark in the UK. The Twitter account UKWoolworths is not connected to The Very Group.

Today a new @UKWoolworths Twitter account, made an announcement saying it was "here to save 2020". But many Twitter users this morning were left unconvinced by the reports.

The firm, whose Twitter account was created this month, tweeted: "Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store! A couple of legal things to get sorted, but were full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ.

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"We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?"

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The account added: "Can't wait to be back!"

The website linked to the new Twitter account was not working this morning.

Very - then known as Shop Direct - bought the Woolworths brand from the chain's administrators in 2009. It also bought the famous Ladybird childrenswear brand.

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Shop Direct's then chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "Woolworths is a much-loved brand that engenders huge affection among British consumers."

The Woolworths in Plymouth, until the chain closed in 2009

The group relaunched Woolworths.co.uk. Mr Newton-Jones said: "It will definitely have childrenswear and definitely have entertainment, but I really don't think we will be selling washing up bowls and light bulbs."

In 2015, Shop Direct announced it was winding down Woolworths.co.uk and ramping up investment into its flagship Very brand.

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Shop Direct said Woolworths had grown steadily but was its smallest online department store.

Shop Direct's then chief executive Alex Baldock said: Its a shame to say goodbye to Woolworths, a brand that still holds a place in the heart of every pick n mix fan, but our customers are telling us that Very.co.uk is where they want to shop.

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The UK's Intellectual Property Office lists several Woolworths trademarks under the ownership of Shop Direct.

But another Woolworths trademark was registered this year by an Edinburgh company called British Limited.

In March this year, Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited - a Very sister company - applied to the European Intellectual Property Office for a European trademark for Woolworths. The EUIPO website shows that the application has been opposed by Woolworth in Germany.