Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Struggling Woolies' Staff Facing Dole; CLOSING DOWN SALE STARTS TODAY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Struggling Woolies' Staff Facing Dole; CLOSING DOWN SALE STARTS TODAY

Article excerpt

Byline: By SOPHIE DOUGHTY

HUNDREDS of shopworkers are today facing Christmas on the dole after attempts to save high street giant Woolworths appeared to have failed.

The chain, which has 23 shops across the North East, will start its closing down sale today, after administrators failed to find buyers for its struggling stores.

Christmas shoppers were today expected to flock to stores to take advantage of the huge reductions.

But while the price slashes are good news for bargain hunters, the company's 700 workers in the North East are now facing redundancy.

It had been hoped that Woolworths stores would stay open over the festive period, but administrators Deloitte today said it had so far failed to find a buyer for the struggling firm, and confirmed that some stores could close for good by the end of the year.

And the administrators confirmed it is now due to consult with Woolworths' 30,000 staff over the possibility of redundancies.

Deloitte said it was still actively seeking a buyer that would take on Woolworths as a going concern. However, it said it needed to sell off stock to keep the creditors at bay.

A spokesman said: "Christmas is clearly the busiest time of the year for retailers and it is prudent to do all we can to sell existing stock."

Administrators are also in talks over the sale of the leaseholds of individual stores and it is thought Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, the Co-op and discount chain Poundland are interested in some of the larger premises in prime locations.

But many staff and experts believe today's launch of the massive sale marks the beginning of the end for Woolies.

Woolworths has been a familiar name on the high street for 99 years. In the North East it has stores in Newcastle, Gateshead, Shields Road and Newcastle Shopping Park, Byker, Gosforth, MetroCentre, Whitley Bay, South Shields, Jarrow, North Shields, Wallsend, Alnwick, Morpeth, Ashington, Blyth, Hexham, Newton Aycliffe, Consett, Durham, Chester-le- Street, Houghton-le- Spring, Stanley and Washington. …

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