Page last updated at 21:50 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Woolworths seeks High Court order

A Woolworths store
The closure of Woolworths prompted huge job losses

Retailer Woolworths has applied to the High Court for an administration order.

The order would cover outstanding debts with the aim of preventing creditors from taking further action.

Woolworths entered administration in November, with debts of 385m, but a buyer for the firm could not be found and its stores shut earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the firm said it was in talks over the future of its 40% share in DVD publishing firm 2Entertain, co-owned by BBC Worldwide.

The company said: "It is expected that the administration application will be on 27 January."

It added that in the interim, directors would continue negotiations with BBC Worldwide regarding 2Entertain and take "all steps in the interest of its creditors as a whole".

The DVD publishing firm is not in administration and remains profitable, BBC Worldwide said.

It said: "We will now begin talks with the administrator of Woolworths Group regarding 2Entertain's future".

Debt-laden Woolworths saw its difficulties compounded last year when it was forced to pay cash while buying goods from suppliers because trade credit insurers were no longer prepared to cover its suppliers.

The closure of the firm's 807 British outlets has left some 27,000 people unemployed.

Empty stores in prime High Street locations are tipped to be reopened by other businesses.

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