Wellworths Has To Change Its Name

A former Woolworths manager who reopened her Dorset-based store as Wellworths is being forced to change the shop's name by the new owner of the Woolies brand.

Shop Direct, which bought the Woolworths name out of administration in February 2009, announced it had secured a settlement on confidential terms that would see the Wellworths store find a replacement name.

Wellworths, based in Dorchester, said it would re-brand as Wellchester after failing to agree terms that would have allowed it to keep the name and expand. The shop has been given two years to change its branding.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of home shopping giant Shop Direct, said:

"Protecting your brand is of paramount importance to every business and no less so to us with our Woolworths brand.''

Wellworths was launched by mother-of-two Claire Robertson in March 2009.

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

Former Woolworths store manager Ms Robertson has defied the recession by reopening the shop, giving around 20 colleagues their jobs back and seeing the business make a profit in its first year.

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.''

But Ms Robertson said the agreement now allowed the firm to move ahead with expansion plans.