- Woolworth Germany is aiming to conquer Europe as a value-focused outlet
- The profitable firm’s CEO said that expansion into the UK is on his ‘bucket list’
The Woolworth name disappeared in the UK fifteen years ago, but may now be set for a triumphant return under the guidance of a whizz German businessman.
Roman Heini, the CEO of Woolworth Germany, is pushing the chain to expand both domestically and abroad. It has some 640 shops, including a set in Austria and Poland.
Mr Heini says that opening branches in Britain is on his professional ‘bucket list’ as he sees potential for some 5,000 shops across Europe. He said that there was an opportunity to ‘make Woolworth great again.’
While there are no immediate plans to open in Britain, Mr Heini told Retail Week that there were peculiarities about the UK market that made it attractive for Woolworth Germany.
‘I don’t know of any brands where the recognition will be as high as it is in Britain, without having any stores,’ he said.
Woolworths disappeared from the UK after collapsing into insolvency in 2009, after a century on the high street
Roman Heini, the CEO of Woolworth Germany, is pushing the chain to expand both domestically and abroad. He has his eye on the UK in the long-term
Mr Heini said that the UK market had a peculiar attraction for Woolworth Germany as the name had such high recognition
‘We have secured all the trademarks for the brand for the whole of Europe, so we could operate if we make the decision. It may be in the mix for the mid or long-term future.’
Woolworth Germany has no connections to the former UK outlet beyond a shared parentage with the American F. W. Woolworth Company.
Woolworths was once a staple on the UK high street, but collapsed into insolvency in 2009.
Woolworth Germany also suffered financial problems, but mapped a recipe for survival that allowed it to weather the storm of the financial crisis. The profitable company is targeting €1bn sales in the year to April.
It has specialised in household goods, basic clothing, and home brand products, which has allowed it to be price-competitive, according to Mr Heini.
Mr Heini said that 90 per cent of its products were home brand and that 6,000 of the 10,000 products it offered were under €3.