Woolworths in Christmas tree row

A RETAIL giant has been heavily criticised after it refused to pay for Christmas trees to bring festive cheer to its shop frontage for the second straight year.

By Richard Smith

A RETAIL giant has been heavily criticised after it refused to pay for Christmas trees to bring festive cheer to its shop frontage for the second straight year.

Woolworths' decision comes as thousands of people flocked to Woodbridge for a highly successful Christmas street fayre over the weekend and admired more than 100 little festive trees sparkling above the shop windows.

But the shopping giant, poised to take the most money during the lucrative trading period, was left in the dark after the company decided not to spend less than £100 on two trees for its large shop frontage.


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The shop, in the Thoroughfare, declined for the second consecutive year to pay for trees to add to the Dickensian magic conjured up in the historic market town - and yesterday the store was under fire again for failing to make a contribution after it said it did not have any money for trees.

Marion Wells, the town centre coordinator, said: “After the press coverage last year a number of the national chains have contributed and got Christmas trees up this year including Hughes, Peacocks and Barclays.

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“But unfortunately Woolworths are still not participating in this and a lot of the traders feel that is very unfortunate because everybody benefits from it.

“With a shop frontage as long as they have in the Thoroughfare it is a great shame they have not put any trees up and the gap in trees is very noticeable.''

One retailer in the Thoroughfare, who declined to be named, said: “Woolworths take the most money in the town and yet they do not pay for a tree.

“They are mean and their lack of Christmas trees shows up in the town.”

Neville Stein, chairman of Woodbridge chamber of trade, said: “We are extremely disappointed and once again the message is that it is the independent businesses that show an interest in keeping the heart of the town.

“For the sake of £35 to £45 a tree I can not understand why people don't buy one. We are failing to capitalise on all the good work that Marion is doing in getting more and more people into the town.

“We should be making an even bigger splash and an even bigger statement.''

A spokeswoman for Woolworths said: “Woodbridge Woolworths were approached to donate towards the Christmas trees for shop fronts.

“Unfortunately, Woolworths declined the offer because there is no budget to contribute to this activity and all spare funds are donated to our in-house charity, Kids First.

“Woolworths Woodbridge store is one of the most festive shops on the high street with Christmas trees and lights in the windows, garlands, baubles and Christmas music complimenting the in-store environment.

“Woodbridge Woolworths has invested to ensure shoppers do feel Christmassy in their store.”

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