TEARS AS WOOLIES SHUTS ITS LAST STORE
THE last Woolworth stores closed their doors yesterday as experts warned one in 10 of all High Street shops could be empty within weeks.
Woolies staff wept as they served the firm’s final customers in its 100-year History
before joining their 27,000 colleagues in the hunt for a new job.
And the credit crunch that wiped out one of Britain’s best-loved stores will claim many more victims, according to business analysts Experian.
Zavvi and MFI have also collapsed, Adams kids’ clothing chain is set to go under and even Marks & Spencer is reportedly preparing to axe 1,000 jobs.
Experian predict a whopping 15% of all Britain’s shops – that’s 135,000 – will stand empty by the end of the year. And it reckons 90,000 could even be vacant by next month as firms struggle to make ends meet.
Retail consultancy director Jonathan de Mello said the fall of chains such as Woolies would have a knock-on effect, particularly in small towns.
“Smaller retail destinations, in particular market towns, will be worst affected,” he said. “This is not to forget the devastating impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods.”