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Retail Doom And Gloom Part Two: Woolies

By | Published on Monday 5 January 2009


As Zavvi announced it was in administration, the closure of the Woolworths empire began. Everything but the kitchen sink was sold, and had any sinks been easily removable from staff rooms, they’d probably have sold them too. Certainly high street punters could buy shelving if they so wished.

As the one time biggest seller of music in the UK closed its doors for the final time, former staff from the retailer’s stores on the Channel Island of Jersey hit out after they learned they would not received any redundancy pay. Administrators informed former employees that statutory redundancy payouts paid to staff on the mainland were not applicable on Jersey.

Staff have petitioned the administrators, but it seems unlikely it will result in any additional payments being made. So much so Jersey politician Geoff Southern has called on the island’s government to put aside £140,000 to provide aid to those former Woolies staff facing no work without compensation.

Elsewhere in the world of Woolies, the liquidation of the firm’s distribution business eUK continues, with news last week that some of its former suppliers, including record company EMI, are preparing legal action in order to get their hands on stock still sitting in the dead company’s warehouses.

The entertainment firms not only want the return of stock that has not been paid for (as is their automatic right) but also paid-for stock in lieu of debts. The legal action is to stop administrators Deloitte from selling those goods for a quick buck on the basis a return of stock will mean the losses incurred by the entertainment congloms as a result of eUK’s collapse will be less.