Woolworths stores to close

HUNDREDS of jobs are set to go in the region after a major high street store outlined its closing down procedure.

Woolworths – one of the biggest name casualties in the current economic downturn – will no longer be open on the high street from January 5.

Administrators for the firm, Deloitte, have mapped out a schedule of when the 800 stores of the failed retailer will close, including those in North Tyneside.

The Whitley Bay store was due to close on December 30 while the stores in Wallsend and North Shields will close their doors for the final time on January 2.

Stores at the MetroCentre, Newcastle and South Shields all closed on December 27; Morpeth on December 30; Byker, Gateshead and Gosforth, all on January 2; while the Ashington and Blyth stores will be among the last to close on January 5.

North Tyneside Council had expressed an interest in buying the three borough stores to use as Joint Service Centres in the town centres, bringing together council services, health services and other partners under one roof.

Council officials are watching the situation closely and could move for the vacant stores if no other buyer comes forward and they are deemed to be a viable option.

Woolworths, which was launched in the UK 99 years ago, began shutting its doors on December 27 and will have closed all its stores by January 5.

It is expected that all 27,000 jobs nationally at Woolworths would be lost in the closures after the administrators were unable to secure a buyer for the business as a going concern.

Sales at the various stores had taken place in recent days, with some items having as much as 60 per cent taken off, as Deloitte looked to bring in as much money as possible.

Talks are believed to still be ongoing over the sale of some parts of the Woolworths brand and assets although no formal agreement has been reached.