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History

  • 1879

    An idea is born

    As the owner of a household goods store in the US state of Pennsylvania, Frank Winfield Woolworth develops a concept that revolutionizes retail worldwide: On February 22, 1879, he became the first store owner to display his priced goods openly on the counter. He also introduced flat prices of five and ten cents, which is why his stores were also known as "five-and-dime stores".

  • 1900

    F.W. Woolworth & Co

    Together with his brother, Charles Summer Woolworth, he founds the company F.W. Woolworth & Co and soon finds himself running 76 department stores in ten American states.

  • 1911

    1.000 Stores

    The 1000th store opened. The company already has an annual turnover of 52 million dollars.

  • 1913

    The Woolworth Building

    The now richest founding family in the world, which owns the largest store company, completes the Woolworth Building in New York, which serves as its administrative headquarters and cost an estimated 13.5 million dollars to build. At 241 meters, it is the world's tallest building until 1930 and is considered the eighth wonder of the world. 

  • 1919

    Frank Winfield Woolworth dies

    Frank Winfield Woolworth dies at the age of 66. He transfers his fortune and the majority of the company to his granddaughter Barbara Hutton. Even then, the company not only had branches in the USA, but also in Canada and Great Britain.

  • 1927

    First German store

    The year after the founding of the German subsidiary at Hotel Adlon in Berlin, the first German store opens in Bremen.

  • 1968

    Headquarters in Frankfurt

    The purpose-built headquarters in Frankfurt is occupied and serves as the company headquarters until 2010.

  • 1979

    100 years of Woolworth

    In the early 70s, once the dust had settled from the chaos of WW2 and the authoritarianism of the Nazi era, the company was able to rediscover its success. After countless new store openings and renovations, the company’s 100th anniversary is celebrated around the world.

  • 1998

    Split from the parent company

    In a management buyout, the German subsidiary splits from the American parent company, which closed all of its stores in the USA, Canada and Britain a year prior and has turned its attention to the retail of sporting goods. DWW Deutsche Woolworth GmbH & Co. OHG is founded.

  • 2005

    330 stores

    Woolworth operates 330 stores across Germany.

  • 2008

    Restructuring

    The stores adapt to the customers' requirements. The product range is restructured and all locations are fitted with an automatic treadmill.

  • 2009

    Insolvency

    In April, the company files for insolvency with the Frankfurt am Main district court, but it is thankfully able to avoid closure.

  • 2010

    A new concept

    Investors develop a new concept for an innovative and modern store company and found Woolworth GmbH. The cartel office approves the takeover in June. 158 locations, including inventory and rental agreements, are continued. The company headquarters are relocated to Unna on July 1.

  • 2016

    300th store opens

    Woolworth opens its 300th store in downtown Dortmund and thus achieves a major milestone on the way to its target of 1,000 stores across Germany.

  • 2022

    500th store opens

    Woolworth adds 60 new stores to its network and opens its 500th store in March (in Bochum-Wattenscheid). The preparations for international expansion gather pace. About 15 stores are set to open in Poland in 2023.

  • 2023

    600 stores and international expansion

    With the opening of the 12th store in Hamburg in June, Woolworth has 600 stores throughout Germany. The first stores open in Poland in May. Woolworth launches in Austria in November. By the end of the year, the discounter operates around 650 stores throughout Germany, 13 stores in Poland and 4 stores in Austria.

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