Observing the chaos of the East Grinstead branch of Woolworths, shoppers bustle past in a frenzy on this busy Saturday afternoon, arms full of goodies, trying to acquire as much as they can in the pre-Christmas bargain season where offers blanket every shelf.

So despite plummeting into financial abyss, it seems plenty of people are continuing to peruse the aisles of one of Britain’s most beloved shops. They won’t be able to for long though as the store that generations for almost 100 years have grown up visiting says goodbye for good, after banks refused to back a rescue plan.

From an assortment of chocolate éclairs and chewy strawberries to chart hits, power boards and toys, Woolworths was the chain where you could get anything for an affordable price. Those days are gone, as internet shopping and supermarkets offering a wider range of products dominate the market. The luxury of strolling into your local branch being cruelly snatched from you when it goes up on the chopping block for a nominal £1 for all 800 stores, as Hilco proposes to take on the company’s £250 million of debts.

Diane Burton, a local resident mourns the loss of one of her favourite stores. “It will be a shame to lose it; it’s always there to grab everyday items when you need something last minute.”

Over the years Woolies - as it is more affectionately known- has been a familiar sight in almost every town in the UK, a small comfort when you’re lost and you see the retail giant, its doors welcoming everyone in regardless of who they are. Although originally founded by an American, Woolworths has become a quintessential English treasure, to lose something so close to the heart of so many Brits will be a great tragedy.

However, it seems not everyone is devastated by the largest victim of the credit crunch. Former employee of the company Serena Tristam is glad to see the demise of her previous employer; “It’s about time, it was crap working there.” She claims that staff there were treated poorly, and isn’t entirely surprised they have ended up in such turmoil.

Playing the blame game now however will not save what has become over the years an asset to the British way of life that we have all grown so fond of. Undoubtedly it has seen better days, and so in the end perhaps it better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.



Kat, I like the article and yes it is a treasure and I suppose yes it is best to have had it exist than to never have it at all.

Chocolate eclairs and chewy strawberries, GET IN! Shame that such delicacies are being denied to us (the public) now because of our own failure to shop in Woolies enough.

I like how you meld the facts in with the description and words like quintessential and demise sum up Woolies nicely.

Well done :).

R.I.P for high street chain