Woolworths could come back to the high street as a 200-store chain as part of a plan by Shop Direct Group to move it from an online-only operation.

Shop Direct’s owners Sir Fredrick Barclay and Sir David Barclay bought the Woolworths name from the administrators in February and set it up as an online store.

The home shopping group said it was interested in setting up franchised shops, not company run stores, according to the Times.

Shop Direct chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “In the new year, we will consider approaches from interested third parties. We believe it could be a successful chain of up to 200 stores, supported by the buying power of the Shop Direct Group.”

A year ago this week Woolworths collapsed with the loss of over 30,000 jobs and the closure of 800 shops.

Several stores have been set up to try and fill the gap that Woolworths left on the high street including Dorchester-based Wellworths and Alworths, which was opened this month by former Woolworths executive Andy Latham.

Shop Direct Group sent a legal letter to Alworths as it said the name is too similar to Woolworths.