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100 Christmases at Woolworth's


Beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Woolworths, Egham, Surrey, UK, pictured in 1986Take a look at the five and ten. F. W. Woolworth in New Albany, Indiana, USA, decked out for Christmas in around 1912.
Hello! A century ago F.W. Woolworth Co. dominated the shopping scene across the USA and Canada, and its formula was taking hold rapidly in the UK.  The fixed price 5 & 10¢ or 'Nothing over Sixpence' offer was a big hit.

At Christmas the stores were crammed with gifts that were mass-produced using the latest methods to give shoppers more for their money. The counters glistened with baubles, candy canes and toys for all ages. The air was thick with the smell of roasting peanuts, and the hubub of festive music blended with the kerching of cash registers jangling.


Just fifty years ago the red-front chain had over five thousand shops, and had become the dominant Christmas store on both sides of the Atlantic, with successful subsidiaries in Mexico, Cuba, Germany, Spain, Africa and the West Indies. On the radio Perry Como and Bing Crosby provided free advertising, telling everyone to take a look at the five-and-ten, where it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Today the stores have vanished from the American Main Streets and British High Streets, though Woolworth remains 'right up your Strasse' in Germany, has morphed into 'The Bargain! Shop' in Canada, and also sells a broad range on-line in the UK.


Glistening once again. F.W. Woolworth Co's first all colour Christmas Catalogue from 1939.With candy canes and silver lanes aglow. Santa had to pop into Woolies for a toothbrush after all that pic'n'mix!
The Woolworths Museum tells the whole 130 year story, from the early origins in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to the world's tallest skyscraper, efforts at rebranding and the closure in America and dramatic collapse in the UK.

Get festive with our 100 years of Christmas music, or explore the history of Xmas Decorations, look at the cards our great-great grandparents sent and the toys they gave, or see a hundred Christmases on film.

Why not come in and browse around? Every feature is crammed with happy memories. Merry Christmas.

To find out more, please pick a subject in our new, fast-access navigation bar on the left, or use our interactive search engine.


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