Page last updated at 21:51 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Job fears at MFI and Woolworths

Woolworths have 19 stores in Northern Ireland

There is growing concern for the future of furniture retailer MFI which is to go into administration.

The company employs 30 people at three stores in Northern Ireland and another 30 to fit kitchens and bathrooms.

It is understood staff have been asked to stop taking orders at its stores in Spucefield, Bangor and Newtownabbey.

Meanwhile, the BBC has learned Woolworths has also appointed administrators. There are 19 stores in NI employing around 200 staff.

MFI, which was taken over in a management buy-out in September, was unavailable for comment.

The company currently has 110 stores across the UK and a workforce of more than 1,000 people.

Led by chief executive Gary Favell, a management buy-out in September took on 110 MFI stores, while 81 loss-making outlets were placed in administration.

The MFI outlet in Newry, County Down, closed at that time.

MFI has seen sales fall in recent years as it has faced increased competition from newer rivals such as Ikea.

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