The high street downturn today claimed its biggest casualty with Woolworths’ 27,000 shopworkers told they face redundancy in the new year.
Talks with potential white knights continue but administrators Deloitte have told staff they should be prepare themselves for the worst.
‘Some people have been with the company for 10, 20 years and it really means something to them as individuals,’ said one head office worker. Woolworths has been around for 99 years so it is almost a heritage brand.’
Workers learned of the closure plans in an email from head office this morning.
A first tranche of 200 stores will close on 27 December followed by further outlets on 30 December and 2 January. The final stores will open their doors to the public for the last time on 5 January, bringing down the curtain on nearly a century’s trading.
Rescue talks continue with a number of parties interested in buying parts of the loss-making business. Interest is said to come from groups in the UK, Asia, Africa and the Americas but hopes of a deal being stuck look increasingly forlorn.