Woolworths reportedly could be making a return to UK high streets

Britain is on CEO Roman Heini's bucket list of destinations.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 23rd January 2024

Woolworths could be making a shock return to the UK at some point in the future, according to a new interview with its CEO.

We all know the iconic retailer was an absolute stalwart of British high streets for over 100 years.

It started out in the UK all the way back in 1909 as F.W Woolworth & Co, and was known for selling children’s clothing, stationery, and toys right from the very beginning, before expanding its offerings as the years went on, and eventually properly taking off in the mid-1920s.

At the height of its success, new Woolworths stores were opening doors as often as every two to three weeks, and by the time 2008 rolled around, there were 807 branches across the country.

But sadly, one the recession hit amid the 2008 financial crisis, Woolworths’ sales started to rapidly decline – which led to the Group entering administration with Deloitte in November 2008.


All Woolworths stores closed down for good by early January 2009.

Since then, other retailers such as Wilko, B&M, and similar discount stores have appeared to fill the void, but that hasn’t stopped Brits lamenting the loss of the beloved ‘Woolies’ and begging for its return to our side of the pond once again.


And now, it seems like those calls for a comeback could have finally been listened too.

That’s because Woolworths’ CEO, Roman Heini, has set out at his plans for the future of the company in a new interview, and a return to Britain is apparently on his “bucket list”.

Hinting at what could be to come for Woolworths within the next decade or so, Mr Heini – who joined Woolworth Germany in late 2020, after formerly steering the ship at supermarkets Aldi and the US branch of Lidl – told Retail Week that he has sights set on the UK.

Woolworths’ CEO, Roman Heini, says he wants to bring the retailer back to our country / Credit: Woolworth GmbH

“There are over 300 million potential consumers in Europe, and no dominating player,” Mr Heini said in his interview with the trade magazine.

“The market is still there to be divided between the potential players for the future.”

Although a return to the UK is something that’s on Heini’s “bucket list,” it seems that nothing is imminent, and there are no actual concrete plans set out for a return any time soon.

He continue: “I don’t know of any brands where the recognition will be as high as it is in Britain, without having any stores. We have secured all the trademarks for the brand for the whole of Europe, so we could operate if we make the decision.

Read more:

“It may be in the mix for the mid or long-term future.”

Featured Image – Flickr