Administrators trawl through wreckage of Woolworths

Administrators were today sifting through the wreckage of Woolworths on another day of misery for the UK retail sector.





Deloitte is hunting for a buyer for the business and has received approaches from "a number of parties" over the 813-store retail chain and the firm's E.UK wholesaling arm in the past 24 hours.



The stores will stay open over the festive season but doubts remain over the future of the 99-year-old retailer's 30,000 staff.



Deloitte reorganisation services partner Dan Butters said: "We are working hard to ensure that any sale of the business, in whole or part, will preserve jobs."



Woolies' woes came amid news the owner of Currys and PC World had slumped almost £30 million into the red, while sales collapsed at DIY giant B&Q. Furniture chain MFI went into administration yesterday.



Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The eye of the storm has moved on from the banks to the retailers."



Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "We are determined to help people who are facing job difficulties, whether it is at Woolworths or at any other company. We will step in quickly to help people get new jobs."



Woolworths went into administration in the early hours of this morning after rescue attempts fell through. Its 2 Entertain publishing joint venture with BBC Worldwide and Bertram Books wholesaling arms are still trading.



Deloitte's reorganisation services partner Neville Kahn said: "Woolworths has suffered a number of cash flow problems. Strenuous efforts over recent weeks to keep these companies going have unfortunately failed."



DSG International, which owns PC World and Currys, saw shares tumble by as much as 16% today as it warned of a "tough and volatile" retail climate and a 7 per cent fall in comparative sales.



Its underlying losses of £29.8m in the 24 weeks to 18 October compared with a £52.4m profit the previous year - an £80m swing.



Meanwhile, retail group Kingfisher said sales at its B&Q business were down nearly 9 per cent amid the slump in consumer spending and a plunging housing market.



The like-for-like figure - based on those stores trading for more than a year - reflected a 14 per cent slide in sales of kitchen and bathroom units and poor demand for seasonal ranges following poor weather in August.



Total revenues for the B&Q division fell 7.8 per cent to £887m in the 13 weeks to 1 November.



Chief executive Ian Cheshire said: "Consumer confidence has clearly been shaken over the last few months by international economic events and this has impacted demand in all our markets."



Other firms feeling the squeeze of a clampdown in spending included travel specialist Holidaybreak.



Fewer hit theatre shows and cuts in consumer spending have dented city break bookings, although the Cheshire-based group's camping division is booming as families look for cheap holidays and trips with relatively low environmental impact.



Holidaybreak's camping division achieved its highest profit for several years in the year to 30 September, at £13.8m.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Client Services Executive / Account Executive - SW London

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Executive / Client Services ...

PA to CEO / Executive Secretary

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Executive PA to CEO & Executive Dire...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Senior C# Developer (.NET, C#, JMS, TDD, Web API, MVC, integrat

£45000 - £75000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior C...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis