Woolworths enters administration
The 99 year old Woolworth chain has sunk under it's weight, probably changing the UK retailer forever. Shares were suspended today at 1.22 p, plummeting 90 percent over the past year. The last of the North American Woolworth stores closed it's doors in 1997.
High Street legend Woolworths has buckled under its debt and is set to go into administration, BBC business editor Robert Peston has learned.
The move will put tens of thousands of jobs at its 815 stores under threat.
The board of Woolies - one of the UK's oldest store groups - will meet at 1800 GMT to take the formal decision.
Deloitte will be appointed as administrators to the store chain and also to Entertainment UK, which supplies DVDs to supermarket groups.
The UK's Woolworths has no connection with several retail chains around the world that carry the same name.
It was such a hit that from the mid-1920s the company was inundated with letters from local government authorities, asking the company to open shops in their towns. At the height of its success, a new store was opening every 17 days.
But in recent years the company has struggled to remain relevant as supermarket chains expanded aggressively into its traditional business, selling everything from bed linen to toys and underwear.
The retailer employs 30,000 people and it also has a pension deficit of £100 million. Around 20,000 pensioners could be left in the lurch if Woolworths fails.