Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Woolworths' old lorries

I know Woolworths have ceased trading. But what has happened to all their old lorries? Are they parked up in a field somewhere or have they been returned to a lease company? Does anyone know?


Old Navy    on 1 April 2009

I was stopped in traffic (motoring link) outside a Woolworths recently and although the shop had been stripped of shopfittings, all the EPS equipment was intact, also leased?

Armitage Shanks {p}    on 1 April 2009

I would have thought, if Woolworths owned them, they would have been sold to raise money and, as you say, if they were leased they will have gone back to the leasing company. Can't remember seeing Woolworths lorries anyway - the roads seem to be full of Adso, Wilco, Tesco, Ocado and Sainsburys, to name but a few

Old Navy    on 1 April 2009

Would someone with knowledge of distribution care to enlighten us (me) on how the system runs. Do the supermarkets contract haulage firms to "livery up" a certain number of trucks / trailers and use them for their deliveries ? I have seen "unmatched" fuel tankers unloading at supermarkets, I know the contents of the tankers is the same, it all comes from the local refinery.

pda    on 1 April 2009

The logistics companies such as Asda, Sainsbury etc are run by either Wincanton, DHL, or in the case of Tesco, Eddie Stobart at some of their NDC's.

The vehicles are leased by these companies in the parent companies livery.

In the case of Woolworths, I had a number of loads from their old Distribution Center at Rochdale just after they had closed for business. We were clearing all the waste plastic fittings out and certainly all of the vehicles had been returned to the lease company and this was just a couple of weeks after their doors closed.

Only the yard shunter remained, standling sadly slap bang in the middle of the yard, in everyone's way, refusing to start in protest:)

Woolworths had 2 main NDC's, the one in Rochdale and one in Swindon, and many a lorry driver went into them to deliver unable to reverse on the bays ( myself included) but after a few visits we all came out so proud because we'd 'done it in one'!


Old Navy    on 1 April 2009

Thanks Pat.

Alby Back    on 1 April 2009

Don't know but I do have a story about a Woolworths lorry.

Very long time ago I was in charge of a factory which sometimes made things for Woolworths. They were at the time one of our biggest customers. They used to nail everyone down on price and one of their peculiarities was that they would demand even more discount because they would pick up their goods rather than have you deliver them. Downside as a supplier was that you had to have everything ready to load on to one of their trucks on a specific day at a specific time.

Anyway, this huge order came in from them for a unique product which because of the way it was made was exclusive to them and unmistakeably a Woolworths only item. A price and collection date was agreed and we went full steam ahead to make the order.
Everything was going swimmingly until one of the machines needed to complete the order went down causing us to be running right up to the wire.

Knowing that admitting to this would result in at least a hefty financial penalty or even cancellation we pressed on running the remaining machines through the nights on extra shifts to catch up.

The truck arrived as arranged at 10.00 on a Friday morning. We still had about another hours worth of production to do to complete the order. I went out to speak to the driver and politely invited him into our canteen for a free fry up. Unfortunately he refused our hospitality and insisted on getting a quick load up to be on his way.

We knew that if we sent the order short it would cost and might even be refused and the item was unsaleable to anyone else.

Much cajoling and even offers of financial incentives took place until it was clear that the driver was having none of it.

Gradually my heart sank. We were still a good 45 minutes away from completing the order as the driver huffily strode back to his cab.

However, to my astonishment, when he attempted to start the truck in our loading bay, it wouldn't fire up. After a few attempts he rather sheepishly asked to use a phone to get help. Meanwhile our guys were firing the remainder of the stock into the trailer.

Unable to believe my luck but happy as could be I glimpsed our venerable old factory mechanic skulking in the shadows of the loading bay. Grinning from ear to ear and covered in oil...........

Later, when I asked him if he knew anything about the stricken truck, all he would say was "Well boss, you promised everyone a bonus this week if we got that Woolies order out on time...."

Armitage Shanks {p}    on 1 April 2009

Good stuff HB. Great to hear of a team working together for the common good!

Old Navy    on 1 April 2009

Nice one Humph, good of you to distract the Woolies driver while your team did the necissary.

Cultural Attache    on 1 April 2009

I believe that Morrisons own and manage their own distribution fleet. Though they do use a lot of owner operators as well.

frazerjp    on 2 April 2009

Tesco trunking between DC's is now run by Eddie Stobarts in some DC's
I know the Middlewich depot was taken over by Stobart recently resulting in redunduncies of old Tesco drivers.
The actual tractor units & trailers are least out, the units are on a 5 year contract which is how long the warranties are honured from new. But I do know by fact that some of the older 12 meter trailers they still use are actually owned by the company due to a shortage of these type trailers as some stores can't take the full length 13.5 meters due to space restrictions.

I think DHL run the logistics for Iceland & some Morrisons DCs too.

Xtype    on 2 April 2009

My father in law to be runs a frozen food company that operates the haulage for Somerfield. Somerfield did look at doing the operation themselves but with the current climate have decided to stick to outsourcing.

grumpyscot    on 2 April 2009

I've seen one tractor unit in B&M livery - the company that's taken over some of the Woolies stores. It was pulling an Eu Natural trailer - and I thought Eu Natural had gone!

R75    on 2 April 2009

It is quite expensive to re liver trucks and trailers, so many trailers will stay with old schemes for sometime, and if they are getting near to replacement they won't be touched at all.

Also, many companies now use plain tractor units which gives flexibility, especially if they have various brands under one roof - such as Kingfisher with B&Q and Screwfix. Also holds up the resale value if they buy them or makes leasing cheaper.

Add a comment


Compare classic car insurance quotes and buy online. A friendly service offering access to a range of policies and benefits.

Get a quote