Woolworths in administration
But the search for a buyer has failed, sealing the chain's fate.
With its 815 stores across the UK... the move will put tens of thousands of jobs under threat
Deloitte will be appointed as administrators to the store chain and also to Entertainment UK, which supplies books and DVDs to supermarket groups.
However Woolworths joint venture with the BBC, 2 Entertain, will not go into administration. It is owned by Woolworths' parent company, which will not go into administration.
The collapse of Woolworth is likely to lead to the closure of hundreds of stores across the UK.
And it is also likely to lead to many thousands of redundancies.
Woolworth has 815 stores. The store chain employs 25,000 and Entertainment UK employs 5,000.
The company has struggled under the weight of £385m of debt. Its problems were compounded over the past couple of months when it was forced to pay cash when buying goods from suppliers, because trade credit insurers were no longer prepared to insure supplies to Woolworths.
Although this news may come as a shock to shoppers, I'm sure the City analysts saw this coming, after Woolworths suspended its shares from the stock market when trading opened this morning, and I have heard news through the day of book publishers putting EUK on credit-hold.
A sad day indeed, for a High Street institution who was only one year short of its centenary.