Wellworths forced to change name by Woolworths owner

Claire Robertson at pick 'n' mix Ms Robertson took on about 20 former staff when the store reopened

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A former Woolworths store which reopened as Wellworths has been forced to change its name.

Shop Direct, which bought the Woolworths brand out of administration, said it had secured a legal settlement with the store in Dorchester, Dorset.

Wellworths will rebrand itself as Wellchester after failing to agree terms that would have let it keep the name but restrict its expansion.

Shop Direct said protecting its brand was of "paramount importance".

Wellworths, launched by former Woolworths manager Claire Robertson in March 2009, has been given two years to change its branding.

First-year profit

The branch was one of 815 that closed after Woolworths went bust in November 2008 with debts of £385m.

But Ms Robertson reopened the store, gave about 20 colleagues their jobs back and saw the business make a profit in its first year.

Start Quote

We're really happy with the way things are going and have been extremely well supported by our customers”

End Quote Claire Robertson

Wellworths said Shop Direct "initially supported the opening of the former Woolworths store in Dorchester as Wellworths, but then sought an agreement which would place limits on the growth of the business under the Wellworths name".

"Regretfully, rather than accept those limits, Wellworths have decided to replace the Wellworths name with Wellchester over the course of the next two years."

Ms Robertson said she was aiming to expand the brand across south and south-west England, in towns similar to Dorchester.

She announced her intentions in March, although other sites have yet to be found.

"We're really happy with the way things are going and have been extremely well supported by our customers in the first year-and-a-half," she added.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of home shopping firm Shop Direct, said: "Protecting your brand is of paramount importance to every business and no less so to us with our Woolworths brand."

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