The ultimate Pic ‘n’ Mix was definitely a favourite for every 90s kid (and adult). Woolworths, or Woolies as it was known on the street, is one of the biggest tragedies of our time. The high-street giant stocked every gift imaginable, from trading cards to the BIG stuff that we all loved opening at Christmas.

Woolworths stores closed down in 2009 after suffering heavily during the 2007/8 recession.



Littlewoods shop front in the mid 1970’s

Littlewoods originally began in 1923 as a football pools company, known as Littlewood Pools. After making a loss in the first season of operation, John Moores’ original partners withdrew from the venture.

Moores persisted with family assistance and by 1932 was in a position to expand the business into mail-order retailing. The mail-order business expanded and the first Littlewoods high-street store opened in 1937.

Littlewoods grew as a retail and betting organisation and, at its height, there were about 22,000 employees working there. In 1982, it was the largest private company in Europe. At one time, it was also the largest family-owned firm in the UK.

In October 2002, the Moores family sold the shopping and catalogue business to David and Frederick Barclay for £750M.

In 2004 Littlewoods was merged with Kays Catalogues to create the Littlewoods Shop Direct Group (now Shop Direct Group).

The closure of 119 Littlewoods stores was also announced in 2005. Around 40 stores were sold to the Primark retail business, owned by ABF.

Nowadays the Littlewoods brand is relaunched, but is completely online only and runs from factories around the country, with the head office remaining in Liverpool. Shop Direct retain ownership of the Littlewoods brand.

Deep Pan Pizza

Deep Pan Pizza disappeared from the high street in 1998 after demand for the chain dwindled. The closure came in response to a sharp fall in profits at the chain, caused by the growing trend for customers to dine out on more exotic and upmarket food.

City Centre Restaurants, now known as The Restaurant Group, which owns the chain, decided to scrap the Deep Pan Pizza name and create a new upmarket chain of pizza restaurants.

Nowadays, the sites which housed Deep Pan Pizza restaurants can be seen to be occupied by The Restaurant Group’s other brands, such as Frankie and Benny’s, Chiquito’s and Coast to Coast.

TJ Hughes

TJ Hughes is a discount department store chain specialising in home and fashion, fragrance and cosmetics, technology and electrical goods.

TJ’s first started trading in 1912 and since day one has been offering customers premium brands at discounted prices up to 70% off RRP.

The company is a family run business, with its headquarters based in Liverpool. They currently trade from 20 stores across the UK, but in years gone by TJH stores appeared in most major shopping centres across the country. In 2011 the company suffered with administration, as many did during the great recession, costing more than 1000 people their job.

Fortunately they’ve managed to recover and in 2017 are building their foundations once again and opened up their latest shop in Chesterfield this year.


Sadly the same outcome cannot be said for Gateway. Many will know Gateway as Somerfield, Kwik Save and Co-op due to the subsequent ownership of the brand as time progressed.

The company has its origins in a Bristol-based grocer known as J H Mills which was founded in 1875 and which developed a self-service supermarket chain named Gateway Foodmarkets in 1960.

During the early 1970s Gateway operated primarily in the south west of England with a few stores elsewhere. In 1983 Linfood Holdings was renamed the Dee Corporation. A few years later, in 1989, the Company was the subject of a £2bn takeover bid from a newly formed company, Isosceles; the deal was partly financed by a pre arranged sale of 61 Gateway stores to Asda.

In the early 90s, the first Somerfield store opened in Somerset and after it proved a success the Gateway name was changed across the board to Somerfield.