F.W. Woolworth Co. - Famous Department Store - Woolworth's - Specimen Stock CertificateInv# SE1363
Specimen Stock. Printed by American Bank Note Company. Available in Green or Red. Please specify color.
The F. W. Woolworth Company (often referred to as Woolworth's or Woolworth) was a retail company and one of the original pioneers of the five-and-dime store. It was among the most successful American and international five-and-dime businesses, setting trends and creating the modern retail model that stores follow worldwide today.
The first Woolworth store was opened by Frank Winfield Woolworth on February 22, 1879, as Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store" in Utica, New York. Though it initially appeared to be successful, the store soon failed. When Woolworth searched for a new location, a friend suggested Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Using the sign from the Utica store, Woolworth opened his first successful "Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store" on July 18, 1879, in Lancaster. He brought his brother, Charles Sumner Woolworth, into the business.
The two Woolworth brothers pioneered and developed merchandising, direct purchasing, sales, and customer service practices commonly used today. Despite its growing to be one of the largest retail chains in the world through most of the 20th century, increased competition led to its decline beginning in the 1980s, while its sporting goods division grew. The chain went out of business in July 1997, when the company decided to focus primarily on sporting goods and renamed itself Venator Group. By 2001, the company focused exclusively on the sporting goods market, changing its name to the current Foot Locker, Inc., changing its ticker symbol from its familiar Z in 2003 to its present ticker (NYSE: FL).
Retail chains using the Woolworth name survived in Austria, Germany, Mexico and United Kingdom as of early 2009. The similarly named Woolworths supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand are operated by Australia's largest retail company, Woolworths Group, a separate company with no historical links to the F. W. Woolworth Company or Foot Locker, Inc. However, Woolworths Limited did take their name from the original company, as it had not been registered or trademarked in Australia at the time. Similarly, in South Africa, Woolworths Holdings Limited operates a Marks & Spencer-like store and uses the Woolworth name, but has never had any connection with the American company. The property development company Woolworth Group in Cyprus began life as an offshoot of the British Woolworth's company, originally operating Woolworth's department stores in Cyprus. In 2003, these stores were rebranded Debenhams, but the commercial property arm of the business retained the Woolworth's name.