The Woolworths Museum

Strategy for the 1980s

Geoffrey Rodgers, Chairman of the British Woolworth at the time of the management buy-in by Paternoster Stores Ltd (later known as Kingfisher)

This page shows the new Woolworth Chairman-designate Geoffrey Rodgers' strategy to modernise the business in the 1980s. It is reprinted from advertisements placed in Britain's leading broadsheet newspapers, including The Times, The Financial Times and The Scotsman.

The supremo also gave a number of interviews in which he predicted that in ten years time the firm's new acquisition, B&Q, would dominate the DIY market and Tesco and Asda would do the same in the grocery sector. At the time City pundits and the media ridiculed Rodgers for his views, but in retrospect his foresight about the market was remarkable.

The campaign is believed to have drawn attention to the break-up value of F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. and prompted the 1982 'management buy in' by venture capitalists. This set a very different course indeed.

Fortunately for Rodgers, in 1980 social media was yet to be invented. When a video of his TV appearance (left) recently surfaced on YouTube, viewers considered him scary, nicknaming him Dr Death!

The original Woolworth strategy for the 1980s, by Company Chairman Geoffrey Rogers. This was prepared in 1979 as the Board negotiated to buy the DIY retailer B&Q and released at the beginning of the new decade, once the acquistion was complete.


We have enlarged the graphic from the left hand side of the advertisement to make it more legible, and reproduced this below.


Graphic setting out the key elements of the intended Woolworth strategy for the Eighties