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Author Topic: Woolworths - end of an era??  (Read 4011 times)

Bartapuss

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Woolworths - end of an era??
« on: January 07, 2009, 12:49:52 AM »

Quote in the press,

Staff praised as Woolworths closes

Tribute has been paid to Woolworths workers who face redundancy for "seeing the job through" to the company's very last day of trading.
John Gorle, national officer for shop workers' union Usdaw, said it was a "a testament" to the "professionalism" of the firm's 27,000 workforce.
The last 200 Woolworths stores closed their doors for the final time after a massive clearance sale during which even the stores' fixtures and fittings were sold off at bargain prices. The firm's 807 stores were closed in stages from the final weeks of December.
Mr Gorle said it was "not uncommon" for a Woolworths employee to have a record of 15 to 20 years of service - a rarity among the usually transient retail workforce.
"It wasn't just a job, for many it has been a way of life," he said.
"I would be hard pushed to find another group of workers that would have shown the professionalism of the Woolworths workers. Many others would have walked off the job and frankly, I couldn't have blamed them.
"I think this is a testament to them, their self respect and pride meant that they wanted to see the job done properly right up until the last day."


My heart goes out to the staff, it really does, its shows no matter how hard the British worker tries his best they still get s**t on in the end and I do'nt hold out much hope that they'll recieve a good redundancy package either more like they'll be lucky to get their final pay packet. However for Joe Public I can help but think there was just shedding of a few crocodile tears as they clammered to strip the shelves bare like desert vultures sqabbling over the carcass of a dying animal.
And why such a hue & cry I ask, Woolworths was/is a American owned company part of the great Walmart corparate global empire and a company with a poor reputation for workers pay and conditions and for its stance on none recognition of unions and have recently  been slated for their treatment of black workers in South Africa (seems apartheid is still alive and well), so how could we expect to be treated any better when they view us no more than a third world country.
There was nothing so much as a wimper in this country when the coalmines, steel works and shipyards were closed our railway decimated and our armed forces cut back.  :((
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toesupwa

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2009, 01:18:13 AM »

... I do'nt hold out much hope that they'll recieve a good redundancy package either more like they'll be lucky to get their final pay packet...


If the company was in receivership, the Goverment will pick up the tab for the final redundancy pay (at basic rates mind)... pro rata depending on number of years service.
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Seaspray

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2009, 08:58:09 AM »

They'll be a few more companies go in the coming months.   <:(

Just shows you that saying " Get big or get out". Doesn't always work.

Seaspray
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tigertiger

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2009, 09:35:18 AM »

I seem to recall Woolies being in dire financial straights for about 30 years now, on and off.

I visited my local woolies a lot as a kid. They used to have a good range of toys and models, loads of fishing gear and a lot of general household items.

I recently visited my local Woolies back home. And to be honest, they only had a very few items I would ever have wanted. The core business was confectionery, DVD/CD (others do it much better) and some household and gardening stuff(Tesco/Asda etc. do it better).  So really it was just a big sweet shop.

The thing that always saved Woolies in the past was it used to own all its own stores, and the mortgages were long paid off. But with real estate values dropping, I am guessing that Woollies credit rating also dropped.

Most companies rise and fall in under 40 years. Woolies has had a very long run for its money. If I go up my local high Street back home, I only recognised half a dozen traders who were there when I was a kid. Woolies (soon to go), Stermat, Boots, Arundales Greengrocers, Blodwyn's Kitchen, Gilbert Emery Sports, and Colwyn Bay Antiques.
The post office, many of the banks, the corner shops, the Woodhouse Furniture, Timpson Shoe shop, Corner shops, cafes, petrol stations, car dealers, GONE.

Lots of nice new Charity shops, kebab shops, and bargain booze outlets though.

But yes, it is sad to see a chunk of High st. history go by the wayside.


A bit off topic, Sorry lads.
Just having a GOG moment, and I ain't quiet 50 yet.
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Roger in France

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2009, 11:36:29 AM »

A friend remarked to me about Woolworth's closure, "Everybody knows them and can tell you stories about when they used to go into them in the past. But has anyone you know told you they have patronised them recently?"

I think dear old Wollies was a bit like the Church of England, another fine old institution which all claim as there own but into which few ever go.

Roger in France
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nhp651

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2009, 12:01:55 PM »

I'd prefare to enter a "good ol' Woolies" than a C of E church in this country any day. {:-{ {:-{
FAR LESS HYPOCTRITS {-) {-) {-) {-) ;) AND LESS PEOPLE TO STAB YOU IN THE BACK???
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 12:06:27 PM »

In my area, Woolies was easily available, being prominently sited, and had a worthwhile range of goods.  Then they closed down the prominently sited ones and replaced them with a much smaller branch tucked up what was, by comparison, a side street.  That nicely got rid of the advantages of having a prominent site while retaining the disadvantage of poor access in a changing age - people going shopping mostly do so in a car rather than by bus or walking - they need somewhere to park.  The range of goods suffered as well, as stated above, becoming an oversized, badly sited sweet shop.

I heard that there are to be redundancies at Marks & Spencer - not ordinary redundancies, but MARKS and SPENCER redundancies.
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polaris

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 12:10:55 PM »


Dear Roger,

True. However, I did go into our 'local' one just before Christmas by way of a pilgrimage knowing it was going to close within a few days. I didn't buy anything I must be honest, but the shelves were looking a touch cleared in places, even though the "up to 50% discount" did not mean quite what we were led to believe! With the final clearance I was not there, but bargains were to be had at that stage I'm sure.

They had been having probs. for the last few years, and this downturn was obviously the final straw. Great pity, I remember as a child it was my haunt for buying presents and sweets, and over the years other things from time to time - but I must admit not that often. I must say that the place always seemed to look busy when going past, but this is due to the region. M&S had to buck their ideas up a few years ago, but Woolworths didn't seem to move with the times so well... though our local one seemed to stock a wide range of things... but sometimes quality left a touch to be desired maybe.

I feel very sorry for the Staff, as indeed I do for all those who have been affected by recent closures (Lucas - v.greatly missed by me and I'm sure many others, MFI, etc., etc.). Woolworths was indeed a fine old Institution, and one I am sorry to see fall by the wayside - partic. one year from it's Centenary.

Tiger: true what you say as well. Their property holdings must be substancial, just a pity that the prop. mkt. is poor for them.

Regards, Bernard

(This am. has been so fragmented that I give up and will get back to doing what I am supposed to be doing after lunch!!!).
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Turbulent

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 12:16:13 PM »


I heard that there are to be redundancies at Marks & Spencer - not ordinary redundancies, but MARKS and SPENCER redundancies.

 {-) Very good!

cos918

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 01:41:09 PM »

yes it said to see Woolworth  go. But they go for a reason. Bad management. Woolworth stood still every one else moved on . There management had a so called brainwave. Lets sell of all the stores and lease them back. Er hello stupid or what. This is why they went bust high rates low turn over etc all caused by bad management.
This is just the tip of he iceberg there going to be a lot more shops going some i cant wait to see go. But then the idea of a reason is to remove the dead wood. any idiot can run a company and make money in boom times but it takes good management to survive reason.

john
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The long Build

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 01:47:04 PM »

Sad they have steadly gone down hill over the years, not keeping up with current trends etc.

Didn't the army do something similar with the houses they owned , and now costs them more to lease them than it would have cost to maintain them themselves.
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Shipmate60

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2009, 05:38:52 PM »

When Woolies were part of the Kingfisher Group I am pretty sure that they sold the freehold of most of their shops and rented them back.
I remember it as I thought it was financial suicide then.

Bob
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2009, 08:32:01 PM »

This is one of the truly sad things that happen when second rate accountants try to run a business.  Rather than actually innovate and perform, they cover their backs as a means of lining their pockets.  This means that the company dies at the slowest rate possible while no blame can be directly attributed to them.  The workers at the bottom of the pile have little option but to go along until it is too late, but most of the time they will have been told that "It will be OK if we do THIS or THAT". 
Very few accountants have the required intelligence and imagination to involve themselves in anything innovative or creative.  You find the creative ones on two types of island - either a nice one that they own, or on the Isle of Wight as a guest at Parkhurst depending on whether they got caught or not.
I bet you can count the skint Woolworths directors and senior management on the fingers of one foot.
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catengineman

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2009, 08:55:18 PM »

I am saddened by the end of Woolies and I did frequent the store often, they used to supply a pair of gloves (they marked them up as gardening) but infact they were "drovers" all leather and very good for what I used them for. My local store would only have six pair in the delivery each season and I would have All of them that would last me a year of working at home and on the ship.
Then the DVD recordable disc's and the CD recordable disc's I found to be cost effective (had several ASDA ones fail to record)
Not to mention the other items the spanner would get from Woolies

So a sad time in our house.

R,
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tigertiger

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2009, 12:39:42 AM »

When Woolies were part of the Kingfisher Group I am pretty sure that they sold the freehold of most of their shops and rented them back.
I remember it as I thought it was financial suicide then.

Actually this is not madness, but good strategic financial planning.
On the part of the then owners, Kingfisher.

Big companies that are set up as groups do two thing, aquire and divest. On aquisition Kingfisher would have had an eye on the property portfolio, as well as the value of the Woolworths brand, turnover and goodwill.
On divestment they can sell on the Woolies brand, turnover and goodwill.

Selling prop and leasing back is not a sustainable choice, but if you know you can divest yourself of Woolies later, it is a bit of a 'no brainer'. It used to be termed as 'asset striping', but today is common practice for the big boys. It is also a good way of releasing yourself from other legacy issues, like workers rights and big redundancy packages, as new staff will have to sign up for new terms and conditions. Although some of the staff have been with Woolies for 20+ years, the vast majority will not have.

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Shipmate60

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2009, 10:10:37 AM »

Unfortunately TT it wasn't done as part of a Fiscal Plan for the company, but a panic measure to generate cash flow and better profit/loss figures.
Woolies has had financial problems for well over a decade, the last 2 major refits of the shops were to help get more customers over the threshold.
It is a shame that the directors then and now never actually defined the direction of the company, just more of the same but with ever decreasing sales.
Unfortunately it is the workforce that pays the cost.

Bob
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tigertiger

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2009, 11:10:27 AM »

Unfortunately TT it wasn't done as part of a Fiscal Plan for the company, but a panic measure to generate cash flow and better profit/loss figures.

Hi Bob
Was this done soon or imediatley before Kingfisher divested themselves of Woolies?
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Shipmate60

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2009, 07:12:19 PM »

TT

It was done after Woolies split from Kingfisher to gererate cash flow, but then increases the capital outgoings even though they were subject to tax relief.
I am not sure if they did this for all their stores there is something in my memory about the "Flag Ship Stores"
Several large retailers did the same thing, but the more aware ones bought the freehold back after a while.

Bob
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Bartapuss

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2009, 11:05:03 PM »

More than five million workers put in a record £26.9 billion-worth of unpaid overtime last year, highlighting the long hours culture in UK industry, a report has said.
The TUC said more people were doing unpaid overtime than at any time since records began in 1992, with an estimated 5.24 million employees working extra hours without pay last year.
Those doing extra work would have received an average of over £5,000 each if they had been paid, the union organisation calculated.
The biggest increases in unpaid overtime were in London, the East Midlands and Eastern England, while the average amount was just over seven hours a week, the study found.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "After years of progress, the numbers doing unpaid overtime has increased for the second year in a row. This is disappointing.
"But while some of this is due to the longs-hours culture that still dogs too many British workplaces, the recession will now be making many people scared of losing their job in the year ahead and joining the ever-growing dole queue.
"Inevitably, people will be putting in extra hours if they think it can help protect against redundancy or keep their employer in business."
The TUC calculated that if everyone who worked unpaid did all the extra work at the start of the year, they would not get paid until February 27.
Mr Barber said the TUC will not be promoting its usual light-hearted Work Your Proper Hours Day this year because of the state of the economy adding: "Long hours are bad for people's health, and employers should never forget that each extra hour worked makes people less productive once they are over a sensible working week.
"The recession should instead provide a spur to make workplaces more productive, and for managers to get staff to work together, not compete for who can stay the latest."

Now car manufacturer Nissan has announced it is to axe about a quarter of the workforce at its flagship Sunderland plant, whatís next??

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Bartapuss

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2009, 11:02:06 AM »

A sewing facility owned by clothing brand Burberry is to close as part of a restructuring set to cost up to 290 jobs, the company announced.

So what are the Chav's going to wear now??
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tigertiger

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2009, 11:07:40 AM »



So what are the Chav's going to wear now??

Aquascutum?
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catengineman

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2009, 02:31:30 PM »

So what are the Chav's going to wear now??



Primark SALE stuff

R,
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dogbone

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Re: Woolworths - end of an era??
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2009, 07:46:45 PM »

woolworths
gone but never forgotten.
Q- where can we get our pick 'n' mix from now?????????????????
lets start a new topic
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