WOOLWORTHS could be set for a return to Dorset high streets.

After the hugely popular high street chain closed in 2009, Woolies, as it was affectionately known could make a grand return to the UK.

Roman Heini, the Chief of HH Holding, which owns the Woolworth brand, as it is known in Germany, said returning the shops to UK high streets was on his "bucket list" of destinations as he looks to expand.

Mr Heini raised the suggestion in an interview with trade magazine Retail Week.

Woolworths had stores in Weymouth, Dorchester and Bridport.

Dorchester Business Improvement District (BID) Director Phil Gordon said he would welcome Woolworths back with "open arms".

Dorset Echo: BID director Phil Gordon said he would welcome Woolies back with open armsBID director Phil Gordon said he would welcome Woolies back with open arms (Image: NQ, Finrbarr Webster)

He said: "We were gutted when we lost Woolworths and of course, we would welcome them back with open arms.

"Our High Street is in relatively good health compared to much of the south-west, the only stumbling block would be where they would go.

"Woolworths was one of the shops you knew you could get decent quality for a low price, they offered value for money and were a trusted brand.

"I have very happy memories there.

"I would look forward to having them back to Dorchester's High Street in the future."

Paul Appleby, President of Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, said: "Whenever I think of Woolworths I immediately think of Pick and Mix sweets.

"I think the town would welcome Woollies with open arms and of course, the town's now empty Wilko store probably has the perfect set-up for it."

Initially on St Mary Street in Weymouth, Woolies then moved to the site where TK Maxx is now.

The shop unit remained vacant until 2010 when TK Maxx opened in Weymouth.

All 807 UK Woolworths stores closed between Christmas and New Year from 2008 to 2009 after the company ran up huge debts.

However, in Dorchester, former manager Claire Robertson refused to see the town's Woolworths go down without a fight.

Dorset Echo: Wellworths manager Claire Robertson celebrates her first year of trading in DorchesterWellworths manager Claire Robertson celebrates her first year of trading in Dorchester

In March 2009, she opened 'Wellworths', a shop which provided a similar experience to Woolies in almost every way and managed to retain 20 of the 26 staff members who lost their jobs in the closure.

Dorset Echo: Outside Wellworths in Dorchester town centreOutside Wellworths in Dorchester town centre

Wellworths eventually ran into legal troubles over its name and had to be renamed Wellchester.

In 2012 the store was forced to close due to an increase in rent and was replaced by Poundland.