Contrary To Popular Belief, Woolworths Did Not Go Out of Business

When Woolworths first flung open its doors in Lancaster, Penn., in 1879, it was the Victorian equivalent of the dollar store, selling everything from stationery to dish cloths for just 5¢. Founded by Frank Winfield Woolworth, the chain would soon become a presence in just about every city in the country. At the time of its centennial celebration, the company operated 4,000 in the U.S. and abroad. The 1960s were a rough time for the Woolworth name. Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart, S. S. Kresge Company opened Kmart, and Dayton’s opened Target. Retailer and department store chains were overtaking the traditional five-and-dime stores and offering prices that small stores could not. While Woolworth’s didn’t go out of business, they shifted their focus to their most profitable division: Foot Locker. In 1997, Woolworth’s closed its remaining department stores in the U.S. and in 2001 changed its name to Foot Locker, Inc. Today, the footwear company has 3,363 mall-based stores in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, with over 32,000 employees and a revenue upwards of $8 billion.