WOOLIES: Job cuts begin

Woolworths has announced a number of job losses within its back office set-up.
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The administrator has announced a number of redundancies in the company’s support operations at Marylebone Road, London, and Castleton, Rochdale. There have been no redundancies in the high street stores and distribution centres.

There have also been no redundancies at Entertainment UK (EUK), the wholesale distributor of entertainment products, which is also in administration.

Neville Kahn, Joint Administrator and reorganisation services partner at Deloitte, said: "Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make some 450 employees redundant out of a total workforce of over 25,000. These roles are in head office and support functions in London and Castleton. There have been no redundancies in the high street stores and distribution centres. Our expectation remains that stores will remain open beyond Christmas and that all staff in the stores will be paid in full."

Job Centre staff will be attending both sites to provide support and advice to employees who have been made redundant, and the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service has put together a special team to quickly approve claims for employee entitlements.

Neville Kahn added: "The stores and distribution centres will continue to trade as normal, but with a simplified core structure supporting them going forward. The Administrators, supported by management, are still actively seeking a purchaser for the business as a going concern, with discussions being held with a number of interested parties. We are working hard to ensure that any sale of the business, in whole or in part, will preserve jobs.

“We have today launched Woolworths’ Biggest Ever Sale, which is complementary to and will not adversely impact upon our efforts to sell the business. We are extremely grateful to the staff and management for their continued support at this difficult time. We would also like to thank the Job Centre and Insolvency Service for their cooperation and help.”

The Marylebone Road, London, and Castleton, Rochdale, operations employ over 1,100 staff in total.

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