Thursday, 27 November 2008


In the UK this morning we awoke to face the prospect of seeing Woolworths, our much loved and iconic high street retailer with over 8oo branches and 30000 staff, being erased from our lives forever. Woolworths has been placed in administration (similar to Chapter 8) and the chances of it arising from the ashes are not rated highly. To most of us many things have happened in our lives, some good, some bad, but one thing has until now remain unchanged - Woolworths in a prominent high-street position awaiting to serve us with a multiplicity of merchandise.

In the USA the Woolworth retail brand disappeared in 1997 when the brand was converted into a sporting goods retailer, firstly under the name Venator Group, and then in 2001, changing its name to Foot Locker Inc. However, Manhattan was left with a memorable and long lasting treasure on which to gaze with pleasure and act as a constant reminder of F. W. Woolworth Company.

The Woolworth Building
Many find the Woolworth Building, at 233 Broadway, to be one of the most attractive elements of New York's skyline; the elegant structure was called the "cathedral of commerce" when it was built and it was the tallest building in the world from 1913 until 1930. The design is neo-gothic, with finials and small spires accenting the main tower. Subtle shading creates the illusion of shadow and adds to the sense of verticality.
Mr F. W. Woolworth paid $13 million in actual cash to to have it built, and the lobby includes a carved representation of him counting coins - not bad for a 'five-and-dime' business man. After the chain went out of business in the late 1990's the building was sold for $155 million to the Witkoff Group.

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