For a brief spell there a return to simpler times for the UK High Street seemed almost plausible, as rumours circulated that Woolworths had confirmed plans to make its return. An announcement put out on Twitter certainly caught the attention of the UK’s media channels.
That was until the now Woolworths brand owners, Very seemed to put it all to bed. Short-lived rumours that Woolworths was making its return with the launch of three trial stores by 2021 were scotched when Very Group revealed that it had not heard of any plans to open stores.
The Very Group took control of the Woolworths brand back in 2018 amid a bidding war between the retail group and the former director Tony Page, whose bid of £10million to revive the High Street name was beaten.
The rumours of the return were triggered when a Twitter account claiming to be that of the retailer Woolworths stated ‘exciting news’ for the UK before revealing that it was ‘making its return to the UK High Street.’ The veil has began to slip in the hours since the Twitter post, when it surfaced that the website listed was only registered this morning, signalling the work of an online hoax.
While the account itself is yet to admit to its ploy, evidence is stacking in the favour of foul play, leaving the media outlets that were quick off the mark to respond to the initial announcement – ToyNews included – rather red-faced over the morning’s shenanigans.
The events, however, do tell of a larger story at play over the deeper role that social media has to play in today’s consumption of news, the race to break it first, and the care that needs to be taken when injesting content from a multitude of platforms. ToyNews has certainly learned a valuable lesson on such a matter this morning.