Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 17:19 UK

Old Woolworths stores to re-open

The Original Factory Shop said it had been after the sites for some time

Five former Woolworths stores in mid, north and south Wales which closed when the retail chain collapsed have been taken over, creating 100 jobs.

The Original Factory Shop, a discount department store, is taking over the empty shops in Barmouth, Cardigan, Chepstow, Porthmadog and Pwllheli.

The firm already employs 100 people in Wales at Flint, Haverfordwest, Pontllanffraith and Buckley.

It said its profits had risen, which was partly due to Woolworths' demise.

The Original Factory Shop, which has its headquarters in Burnley, Lancashire, brands itself as a low price department store, selling clothes, toys, gifts, electrical goods and house wares.

Marketing director Colin Leggatt said about 100 jobs would be created.

'Welcome boost'

He added: "We have been chasing these sites for a long time, and we're looking at a couple of other sites in Wales."

Mr Leggatt said in the 14 weeks leading up to the 29 March the company's profits increased by 12%, which coincided with the demise of Woolworths.

He said: "We are picking up business Woolworths would have taken, and we're picking up a lot of Woolworths staff."

The Original Factory Shop
The Original Factory Shop already has four stores in Wales

Ceredigion's Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams said it was good news for Cardigan.

He said: "The jobs will provide a welcome boost to the town, and it will be good to see the unit being used once again.

"Empty shops can have a corrosive effect on surrounding businesses, so this news is very welcome for Cardigan."

In January, frozen food retailer Iceland bought 51 former Woolworths stores, and said it planned to create 2,500 new jobs.

Last month, a Woolworths store in Dorchester, Dorset, was reopened under the name Wellworths.

Claire Robertson, 34, the ex-manager of the branch, recruited 20 of her former Woolworths colleagues to work at "Wellies".

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