Alworths, the variety chain set up by former Woolworths director Andy Latham, expects to break even in year one of trading.

The retailer wants to open 22 stores in the next 12 months. The first – in Didcot, Oxfordshire – opens on November 5 and another opens in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, on November 12. Both are former Woolworths stores.

Latham, formerly Woolies head of stores and concessions, had planned to launch the chain with ex-Woolworths commercial director Tony Page, but the two parted company in mid-August after a difference in opinion, according to Latham.

Page has abandoned his plans to launch a Woolworths-style chain and is seeking other projects.

Latham said: “If we didn’t get the business up this side of Christmas we’d struggle to capture the love that consumers have for Woolies.

“In our first year of trading we’ll probably break even, and make a small profit in the second.”

Latham obtained investment through Middle Eastern family connections, and wants up to 100 stores within years. The name of the chain is based on his initials.

Latham said: “We’ll keep costs down. Our stores will be clean, uncluttered and family-orientated. Alworths will be value for money.”

Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said Latham needs to “learn from the mistakes” of Woolworths to succeed. He said: “It needs a new approach, new ideas and new appeal to work.”

  • Shop Direct, which purchased the Woolworths brand name and launched an online store, has reportedly threatened action against Wellworths, the store set up by a former Woolworths manager, because of the similarity in names.