FANS of bargain buys and pick 'n' mix may be punching the air at reports family-favourite department store Woolworths could be making a return to the UK high street.

Its flagship York store in Coney Street (now Boots) closed in 2008 and all UK stores followed suit in the new year of 2009.

But that was not quite the end of the "Wonder of Woolworths" as the earworm of the store's TV jingle declared.

When the British shops closed after the financial crisis, the brand in Germany, where it is known as Woolworth, was saved by HH Holding.

York Press: Woolworths on Coney Street, which closed for good in 2008Woolworths on Coney Street, which closed for good in 2008

The company announced they are seeking to expand internationally and that the UK is on a "bucket list" of destinations.

The real history of Woolworths goes back further still and has a transatlantic flavour as well as a European one - Woolworths originated in the US.

It opened its first UK store in Liverpool in 1909. But Woolies, as it became known, officially came under British ownership in 1982 when it was acquired by Paternoster Stores Ltd.

After a century of trading in the UK, it had some 807 British stores. Its closure left more than 27,000 people unemployed.

According to reports, Woolworth Germany said it was "unable to confirm any plans for Woolworth to return to the UK market" but that such a move was not ruled out in principle.

For Press readers of a certain age, a visit to Woolies is the stuff of sweet nostalgia (and not just because of the pick 'n' mix). From CDs and books to clothes and gifts, gardening to kitchen supplies, it was a place to browse and buy - knowing that no purchase would break the bank.

York Press: 'Barbie' doing a promotion with Woolies in York in 2000'Barbie' doing a promotion with Woolies in York in 2000

So it was the end of a shopping era when Woolworths closed its store in York city centre back in January 2008. It had shut its outpost at Monks Cross in 2005.

News that the brand might return to the UK high street is bound to spark memories for readers.

Do you have memories of Woolies? Share them with us in our Facebook nostalgia group: Why We Love York - Memories.

The Woolworths story in York began in 1924 when it opened its store in Spurriergate, York.

This store was damaged when York was bombed during the Second World War.

But by 1955, Woolies had expanded along Coney Street - moving into the site left by the former Picture House cinema which was demolished to make way for the retailer (and is now Boots).

Woolies even had a cafe; it opened its Diamond Bar in 1957.

Famous visitors over the years included former boxer Henry Cooper who met shoppers in Woolworths during a promotional tour of Yorkshire in August 1977 and singer Lena Zavaroni, who was swamped by teenage fans when she handed out autographed records at the store in August 1979. Many authors also visited the York branch to promote their latest works.

In the year 2000, a pink 'Barbie' came to the Coney Street store as part of a promotion.

But by the mid-90s, Woolies stopped selling vinyl record singles - once one of the main reasons for shopping there. It was a sign of things to come - and in January 2008, Woolworths closed its store in Coney Street for good.

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