Big queues across Lancashire for Woolworths' closing down sale

Big queues across Lancashire for Woolworths' closing down sale

Shoppers at Woolworths in Blackburn

Shoppers at Woolworths in Burnley

First published in Thornton Cleveleys Blackpool Citizen: Photograph of the Author by

Lancashire’s branches of Woolworths were beseiged by shoppers today as the troubled retailer launched a ‘closing down’ sale.

There were huge queues at Woolworths in Accrington, Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, Chorley, Cleveleys, Clitheroe, Lancaster, Morecambe, Nelson, Preston, Rawtenstall and St Annes as Christmas shoppers looked to grab a bargain.

Administrators, who have warned that some stores may close before the end of the month, launched the sale after struggling to find a buyer for the chain.

Customers said that they would be sorry to see the historic store close for good but were keen to take advantage of the up to 50 per cent off sale.

Kerry Barber, 29, from Mill Hill in Blackburn, said: “I always shop in Woolworths, it has some good bargains.

"I am certainly taking advantage of the sale in the run up to Christmas to buy loads of presents for my one year old daughter Ella May.

”It would be a shame if workers lost their jobs and Woolies will certainly be missed.”

Cath McGough, who was shopping at the Burnley store, said: "It's a shame it's closing down really.

"I've been buying things for the kids there since I was 18.

"Lot's of folk come into town and head straight for Woolworths because it sells a bit of everything, but where are they going to go now?"

Helen McKenna added: "I really like Woolworths and I think it is a real shame that it's closing. It's a big shop in the high street.

"I've managed to get some bits and pieces today, but a lot of the shelves are bare now."

Staff at Woolworths in Blackburn said that they did not know whether or not their store would definitely close.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “We haven’t yet received official confirmation whether the Blackburn store is closing, or if we’ll lose our jobs. We have only seen what’s been on the news but nothing else.”

Administrators Deloitte said they had failed to find a buyer who can ‘revive’ Woolworths but staff would receive support if they lost their jobs.

Neville Kahn, re-organisation services partner at Deloitte, said: “Christmas is clearly the busiest time of the year for retailers and it is prudent to do all we can to sell existing stock.

“By moving to a store closing sale and further discounting the stock, we are maximising the sales potential that this period offers.”

“If no offers for the Woolworths business are forthcoming, then it is possible that some stores may close before the end of December.

“The administrators will begin a consultation process with all employees to provide an update on the latest developments and discuss the support available in the event of redundancies.”

There are growing fears for workers in the stores but talks on the future of the stores are continuing.

Last week, 450 people were made redundant out of the 30,000 staff, as Deloitte looked for buyers, and Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, whose talks to buy the firm fell through, said it was likely it would be broken up.

A spokesman for Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, said: “We remain hopeful that a buyer will be found for this much loved high street store.

"However, in the meantime we are seeking to do everything possible on behalf of our members.”

Councillors in Lancashire said closures would be “tragic” for town centres.

Burnley Council leader Gordon Birtwistle said: “It would be absolutely tragic if Woolworths closed in Burnley.

"I don’t know exactly how many work there, but there must be a couple of hundred casual and part time.

"I fear that Woolworths will not be the last big high-street name to go under.”

Ribble Valley council leader Michael Ranson added: "This won't be good at all, it's very disappointing.

"There might be someone who comes in and buys the site and develops into something else, but it's very distressing.

"What we need in Clitheroe especially are more national names, not less."

Rossendale Council leader Tony Swain said: “It will be a massive loss if Woolworths closes in Rawtenstall.

"Hopefully a resolution can be found soon which keeps as many stores open as possible.”

Comments (16)

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8:52pm Wed 10 Dec 08

Frank Jr says...

Its a shame for all and so close to xmas all best to you all
Its a shame for all and so close to xmas all best to you all Frank Jr
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Wed 10 Dec 08

Kevin, Colne says...

I would endorse Frank Jr. sentiments. I know someone who works at Woolworths and was chatting to them on Monday - sadly the situation looks unbelievably bleak.

I fear that Gordon Birtwistle's observation that other high street retailers may go under will prove remarkably prescient.

Whether another retailer might come forward and take the prime sites remains to be seen and whether this would include Burnley and Nelson is a moot point.

I have long been amazed that Woolworths remained in Nelson. I just could not see how the store could be profitable and could only surmise that they were trapped by the lease or that revenue at least covered the variable costs and made some contribution to fixed overhead.

I could never workout the situation in Burnley other than the store never seemed to be very busy, but maybe I was in at the wrong time.

There is a place for a value-based general retailer, as Home Bargains demonstrate all too well. Their store in Burnley is invariably heaving.
I would endorse Frank Jr. sentiments. I know someone who works at Woolworths and was chatting to them on Monday - sadly the situation looks unbelievably bleak. I fear that Gordon Birtwistle's observation that other high street retailers may go under will prove remarkably prescient. Whether another retailer might come forward and take the prime sites remains to be seen and whether this would include Burnley and Nelson is a moot point. I have long been amazed that Woolworths remained in Nelson. I just could not see how the store could be profitable and could only surmise that they were trapped by the lease or that revenue at least covered the variable costs and made some contribution to fixed overhead. I could never workout the situation in Burnley other than the store never seemed to be very busy, but maybe I was in at the wrong time. There is a place for a value-based general retailer, as Home Bargains demonstrate all too well. Their store in Burnley is invariably heaving. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

10:31pm Wed 10 Dec 08

nuttywoman says...

I feel for for all the people who work at woolies, and am i the only one who does`nt feel like going to the closing down sale? i feel like a vulture because it was a national institution after all and employed many people over the years.
I feel for for all the people who work at woolies, and am i the only one who does`nt feel like going to the closing down sale? i feel like a vulture because it was a national institution after all and employed many people over the years. nuttywoman
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Thu 11 Dec 08

halsalli says...

I pray that the Burnley Woolworth's store doesn't succumb to the same fate as the former Living Department Store and simply end up as Britain's biggest Poundland. The Woolies store is colossal and I remember when it opened on the former Palace Theatre site from it's previous location opposite M&S on St. James's Street, it had two floors and the basement included a food hall!
I pray that the Burnley Woolworth's store doesn't succumb to the same fate as the former Living Department Store and simply end up as Britain's biggest Poundland. The Woolies store is colossal and I remember when it opened on the former Palace Theatre site from it's previous location opposite M&S on St. James's Street, it had two floors and the basement included a food hall! halsalli
  • Score: 0

3:49pm Thu 11 Dec 08

Nad says...

What a shame. The end of an era. I hope the staff soon get sorted and wish them all the best.
What a shame. The end of an era. I hope the staff soon get sorted and wish them all the best. Nad
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Thu 11 Dec 08

Ian_G says...

This is really sad news, firstly for the loss of such an icon of our high street but mostly for the staff who lose their jobs in such a poor economic climate and also just before Christmas.

I hope that they are all able to find alternate employment quickly. The best of luck to them all.
This is really sad news, firstly for the loss of such an icon of our high street but mostly for the staff who lose their jobs in such a poor economic climate and also just before Christmas. I hope that they are all able to find alternate employment quickly. The best of luck to them all. Ian_G
  • Score: 0

4:40pm Thu 11 Dec 08

AccyLass says...

No nuttywoman you are not the only one who doesn't feel like going to the closing down sale, I won't be going either.

I bought some items from Woolies the week before this sorry saga was announced, then went in again the week and was shocked at the number of “bargain hunters” – if these people had shopped there before then maybe this wouldn’t be happening!
No nuttywoman you are not the only one who doesn't feel like going to the closing down sale, I won't be going either. I bought some items from Woolies the week before this sorry saga was announced, then went in again the week and was shocked at the number of “bargain hunters” – if these people had shopped there before then maybe this wouldn’t be happening! AccyLass
  • Score: 0

4:52pm Thu 11 Dec 08

george69 says...

i just hope that any body there whos been there a while gets there pension i was made redundant from a firm i worked for 4 23 yrs and im stil no nearer after 5 yrs
i just hope that any body there whos been there a while gets there pension i was made redundant from a firm i worked for 4 23 yrs and im stil no nearer after 5 yrs george69
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Thu 11 Dec 08

amir says...

I dont agree with accylass and nutty woman.
Theres nothing wrong with going to sales,even just to Woolworths.Those extra pounds may keep a store or 2 running.At the end of the day we are in a recession and shops will close.Also bad management thought to be a factor in Woolworths death.
I'll be going tomorrow hopefully get a few bargains.

Hopefully those that do lose jobs are given support,such bad timing at xmas.....
I dont agree with accylass and nutty woman. Theres nothing wrong with going to sales,even just to Woolworths.Those extra pounds may keep a store or 2 running.At the end of the day we are in a recession and shops will close.Also bad management thought to be a factor in Woolworths death. I'll be going tomorrow hopefully get a few bargains. Hopefully those that do lose jobs are given support,such bad timing at xmas..... amir
  • Score: 0

10:12pm Thu 11 Dec 08

carl065 says...

Accylass & nuttywoman so if nobody what so ever went into the stores and then the stores took in no money what so ever they would have a better chance of being there next year? Ive been in today but couldnt be arsed with the que so left it.
Accylass & nuttywoman so if nobody what so ever went into the stores and then the stores took in no money what so ever they would have a better chance of being there next year? Ive been in today but couldnt be arsed with the que so left it. carl065
  • Score: 0

11:59pm Thu 11 Dec 08

Para Handy says...

I'm sad to see Woolworth's going. As a child it was a great place to go and spend my pocket money,oh how I loved browsing those shelves! A town without Woolies is hard to imagine.
I'm sad to see Woolworth's going. As a child it was a great place to go and spend my pocket money,oh how I loved browsing those shelves! A town without Woolies is hard to imagine. Para Handy
  • Score: 0

9:08am Fri 12 Dec 08

AccyLass says...

carl065: What I was trying to say was that if people had been shopping in these stores BEFORE the closing down sale then it might not have happened; it's just my opinion and I feel sad that people are only going in there now just to grab things for next to nothing.
carl065: What I was trying to say was that if people had been shopping in these stores BEFORE the closing down sale then it might not have happened; it's just my opinion and I feel sad that people are only going in there now just to grab things for next to nothing. AccyLass
  • Score: 0

9:55am Fri 12 Dec 08

A Darener says...

If the Blackburn store closes perhaps WHS can open there,, if only temporarily. Their current store is terrible, far to0 small, almost like a corner newsagents. They could perhaps employ the Woolies staff.
If the Blackburn store closes perhaps WHS can open there,, if only temporarily. Their current store is terrible, far to0 small, almost like a corner newsagents. They could perhaps employ the Woolies staff. A Darener
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Fri 12 Dec 08

duke bar says...

Fantastic news .Enjoy all the bargins at woolworths.

Who cares when the local corner shop shuts down no one.
Fantastic news .Enjoy all the bargins at woolworths. Who cares when the local corner shop shuts down no one. duke bar
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Sat 13 Dec 08

RAyzer says...

balckburn rovers are having a relegation clear out..santa crud 4 million,warnock(FOR ENGLAND!??LOL)3milli
on,robinson FREE,dunn NOT WANTED,and err!!??dont know any of rest they havent done much anyway
balckburn rovers are having a relegation clear out..santa crud 4 million,warnock(FOR ENGLAND!??LOL)3milli on,robinson FREE,dunn NOT WANTED,and err!!??dont know any of rest they havent done much anyway RAyzer
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Sun 14 Dec 08

duke bar says...

Paul Ince is doing a fantastic job.................
...................
Paul Ince is doing a fantastic job................. ................... duke bar
  • Score: 0
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