Woolworths closing down sale beginsHopes of a Woolworths buy out start to fade

11 December 2008

Woolworths store front

Woolworths began a closing down sale today as hopes of finding a buyer for the ailing retailer started to fade.

Christmas shoppers are being offered cut-price toys, entertainment and other items at the chain's 813 stores nationwide.

Administrators have so far failed to find a buyer for the struggling firm, which scored poorly for customer satisfaction in our annual high street shops survey.

Half price Woolworths toys

Talks on the future of Woolworths are continuing but stores could close by the end of the month if no offers for the business emerge.

Administrator firm Deloitte, which has already launched a massive sale with up to 50% off toys and gifts to generate cash for creditors, previously said Woolworths stores would carry on trading beyond Christmas while a rescue deal was sought.

You can find out how to be a savvy sale shopper in our online guide to buying in sales.

Fears for Woolworths rivals

As Woolworths cuts prices, there are fears rival stores could suffer as a result of being undercut in the important Christmas shopping season.

Argos has already slashed the price of toys by up to 60% on selected lines and up to 50% off some hair styling products and jewellery.

High street and online retailer Zavvi, meanwhile, has been forced to cancel all online orders as its main supplier is Entertainment UK Ltd, Woolworth's distribution service - which went into administration on 26 November.

But some rival retailers are understood to have agreed to buy hundreds of Woolworths store leases - including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Iceland - as many of the group's outlets have planning permission to sell food.

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