Woolworths sympathy misplaced

Nostalgia is a funny old thing. People’s shock at the news Woolworths is in serious trouble is bizarre, but very British. How on earth could 99-year-old high street national institution Woolworths be in trouble? How can this have been allowed to happen? Don’t kids buy pick ‘n’ mix anymore? Without getting into the real financial mess behind Woolworths’ woes and its £100m pensions deficit, is it really a surprise a shop which has no real USP other than a tired brand is struggling? Almost all its core audience know they can buy the same products for less at Tesco or online, or visit a specialist niche retailer offering wider choice, superior service and increasingly sexier shopping environment. Like fellow dinosaur WHSmith, there’s no longer a compelling reason to shop at Woolworths where choice is limited, price is either high or representative of low quality. Both shops' only value are their prime locations making them convenient to visit for low cost urgent buys and of interest for a buy-out. Aside from the redundancies and knock-on blow to suppliers (and that's a big aside), does it matter it if these dinosaurs become extinct? It shouldn’t. Red phone boxes and routemaster buses, though, now that’s a scandal...

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