Staff were reportedly informed of the closure this morning. The Guardian says the first 200 stores will close on Christmas Eve.

Nearly 30,000 people will lose their jobs.

Administrators haven’t ruled out the possibility of a last-minute buyer for the chain but say it’s unlikely.

Dragon Theo Paphitis had considered purchasing Woolies but pulled out, saying: “The constituent parts of Woolworths are more valuable than the whole.”

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