Woolworths could stage a high street comeback if plans by the owner of the name go ahead.
Shop Direct Group, which bought the Woolworths brand after the variety chain went into administration a year ago, says it wants to open 200 new Woolworths stores on a franchise basis.
Shop Direct, which is currently running Woolworths as a purely online retailer, had originally ruled out a revival of the brand in the high street. However, signs that it might have had a change of heart emerged a month ago when it threatened legal action against a new chain calling itself Alworths.
Shop Direct told Alworths, which has styled itself as a Woolworths-type retailer, that its name was too close to that of the original.
Former Woolworths director Andy Latham, who runs Alworths, is aiming to open five Alworths stores this year. Two are open already.