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We're immune, says Woolworth Jamaica

Published: Friday | December 5, 2008

A woman carrying a toddler walks by the Woolworth store on King Street, downtown Kingston. - Norman Grindley/Deputy Chief Photographer

Department store Woolworth Jamaica has said it is immune from any fall out from the operation in the United Kingdom, now on the verge on bankruptcy and seeking buyers.

"We are not connected in any way," said Peter Tuckey, managing director and principal shareholder of F.W. Woolworth and Company Jamaica Limited, following reports that Woolworth Group PLC was placed in administration.

The business began to slide because of slumping retail sales.

Here in Jamaica, Woolworth has been in operation for close to five decades.

Ringed by competitors

Spread across Jamaica, and once one of the most popular places to shop, Woolworth operates a network of eight stores.

The retail landscape has changed and expanded and now Woolworth finds itself ringed by competitors such as Ammar's, Hanna's Better Buy, Josephs, and Azan's which offer similar bargains.

Tuckey said he and other partners, whom he did not name, bought out the Jamaican operation from Woolworth Group in 1989.

No effect locally

Woolworth, at one time, also operated in the United States (US), but went out of business some 10 to 15 years ago, Tuckey said.

He commented that the demise of the US stores also had no effect on business operations in Jamaica.

Woolworth is a household name in Jamaica. Five of the eight stores are in Kingston, while the other three are located in Mandeville, Savanna-la-Mar and Spanish Town.

The company's headquarters is at Slipe Road in Kingston.

Tuckey declined to say how successful the company has been, or make any disclosure on its value or profitability.

Woolworth is known as an all-in-one department store, noted for the provision of stationery and knick knacks.


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