All 807 Woolworths stores to shut by January 5 as 27,000 jobs are axed

07:47 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

All 807 Woolworths stores will have closed down by January 5, the group announced yesterday. 

A countdown for the closure of the chain, a fixture on the High Street for 99 years, was triggered last night after no one offered enough cash to buy it as a going concern. 

The news means that some 22,000 permanent staff and 5,000 temporary workers will suffer a miserable Christmas and unemployment in the New Year.

The first 200 stores will close on Saturday, December 27, another 200 go on December 30, a further 200 on January 2 and the remainder on Monday, January 5.

Staff will be given just ten days' notice before their particular store closes.

Shopworkers' union Usdaw said it was 'appalled' at the news.

Some 50million new items are being delivered into stores this week, including DVDs, CDs and 200,000 copies of the X Factor single Hallelujah.

The firm administering the winding up of Woolworths, Deloitte, said current discounts of 20 to 60 per cent will be increased as the clock ticks down to store closures.

Deloitte said it has received interest from other retailers, including supermarkets, clothing and value chains, to buy 300 Woolworths stores. The others may simply be returned to their landlords and boarded up.

Joint administrator Neville Khan said: 'We are now moving to the closing down sale period.

'It is a very difficult situation for a lot of people, particularly the staff, and we are trying to deal with it in as sensitive a way as possible.'

He raised hopes that jobs could be saved, saying that - as far as possible under privacy laws - Deloitte would pass on the details of current Woolies employees to the buyers of the 300 stores.

Mr Khan also revealed that administrators are in talks over the sale of Woolworths trademark and its Worth It! value brand. Consequently, it is possible the name could be revived at some point.

Ironically, Woolworths has seen some of its biggest-ever sales in recent weeks on the back of its closing down sale. Shoppers who deserted the chain for decades have flocked back in search of bargains.

Woolworths' distribution arm EUK - which supplies CDs to supermarkets and Zavvi - is also in administration. More than 700 jobs from this business have been lost, however there are hopes it can be sold, which would save the remaining 400 staff.

Mr Khan said the task of saving Woolworths had been made harder because potential buyers have had difficulty raising the money needed from the banks, which have imposed strict controls on new lending. continues here

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