Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008

Scots Woolworths stores shut down

Byres road Woolworths store
One Glasgow store on its last day of trading

The first Woolworths branches to end trading in Scotland were due to close for the last time on Saturday.

A total of 17 Scottish branches were closing, with shops in Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee and Leith among the first to go.

Barring any last-minute rescue, a further 30 stores are due to shut on 29 December and the remaining Scots branches will close on 2 and 5 January.

The chain called in administrators amid mounting debts of 385m. In total, 27,000 UK staff will lose their jobs.

Employees will be entitled to compensation under the statutory redundancy payment scheme and will be retained for a few days following store closures.

CLOSURES - PHASE ONE
Aberdeen
Arbroath
Ayr
Clydebank
Corstorphine
Dundee
Dunoon
Falkirk
Fraserburgh
Glasgow (Dumbarton Road)
Greenock
Kirkintilloch
Kirkwall
Lanark
Leith
Prestwick
Stornoway

However, it is expected some stores in prime locations will be reopened by other retailers who have expressed an interest in buying their leases, which could offer job opportunities to redundant staff.

Last week administrators Deloitte said there was still interest in parts of the business but added it had "not come close" to finding a buyer for the firm.

However, it said a range of food, clothes and "value retailers" had made offers to take over the leases at about 300 stores.

Deloitte said efforts would be made to put workers who were losing their jobs in contact with these potential employers.

The first round of closures comes nearly 100 years after American F W Woolworth opened his first UK store in Liverpool.

The chain is the most high-profile UK High Street casualty of the economic downturn so far.

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