WOOLWORTHS fans were beside themselves after a tweet claimed the store was set to return to UK high streets – but it turned out to be a cruel hoax.
A Twitter account named Woolworths UK, which has since been deleted, said today: "Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!"
The announcement was made on an unverified Twitter account and was littered with spelling mistakes, casting immediate doubt on the authenticity of the messages.
In one tweet it spelled Woolworths as Woolsworths.
The account claimed Woolworths was returning to the high street with three trial stores due to open in late 2021.
It added: "Very owns the online Woolsworths, so we will be retail only.
"Before we launch we have a few legal contracts to sign, but we’re super excited!"
Woolworths, known for its pick n mix sweet range, collapsed into administration in 2008.
In 2009, Littlewoods owner Shop Direct bought the trademark and sold to customers online through Woolworths.com.
The company ran the retail site but closed it six years later in 2015 and merged it into its Very brand.
A spokesperson for Shop Direct, which rebranded to The Very Group last year, told The Sun: "We own the Woolworths trademark in the UK.
"The Twitter account UKWoolworths is not connected to The Very Group."
If anyone wanted to trade on the UK high street as Woolworths they would need to get consent from The Very Group, The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, confirmed to The Sun.
Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy, first vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, also told The Sun that under UK law if a trade mark isn't used for five years then the registration risks being cancelled.
She said: "The German department store ‘Woolworth GmbH’ recently applied to have the UK trade mark registration for 'WOOLWORTHS' owned by Littlewoods cancelled, so its future ownership is uncertain.”
The tweets from the fake account were met with a flurry of posts by others, questioning whether the account was legit.
One user said: "@UKWoolworths Forgive my pessimism, but how real is this?"
And another added: "Woolworths re-opening looks like a hoax."
Other Twitter users were excited by the apparent return and started posting about their favourite childhood memories involving trips to Woolworth's stores.
One said: "Omg Woolworths is making a come back…bring back cheap stationary and the best pic and mix ever."
Another added: "I genuinely miss Woolworths as much as you can possibly miss any shop. This would be brilliant."
And a third wrote: "Was faintly excited about the Woolworths comeback until I realised it won't have that bin of CD singles for 99p, mainly because there's no such thing as CD singles anymore."
The retailer's 800 UK stores then closed in January 2009, with about 27,000 employees made redundant.
Woolworths opened its first UK store in Liverpool in 1909 and became a much-loved fixture in high streets across the UK.
In April 2017, former Woolworths director Tony Page hinted that the Woolworths brand could return to the high street.
He said: "I am still emotionally attached to it. I still think it has got a role in the future."
He said that while he envisioned that it would still be a physical shop, Woolworths – nicknamed Woolies – could be better as being part of the community, rather than in shopping centres.
But the attempt to resurrect Woolworths was then criticised by retail experts, who said the superstore belonged in the past.
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