For me, Woolworths seemed a retailer that had lost the plot, lost any idea of the role it played in people's lives and so justly lost the will to live. However, I'm not so sure now - the new Woolworths seems really rather good.
There must be retail chiefs up and down the land that are green with envy that Woolworths has been able to dump its undifferentiated high-street stores in favour of an infinitely smaller but more focused and potentially far more profitable online offering.
And yet for all of this, one can't help feeling that the real wonder of Woolies has gone forever. The real spirit of Woolworths was instant gratification. It really came into its own when you had to have it now, not in four days' time, and only then if you wait in for your order to arrive on your doorstep.
And spontaneity is, of course, what e-commerce does so badly, unless the product you want can be delivered down the wire. The internet is unsurpassed at arming consumers with information, price comparisons and recommendations, but it remains prehistoric when it comes to getting your hands on the stuff, something that remains the enduring USP of the high street.