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End of an era as Woolworths is set to close

PUBLISHED: 13:32 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 September 2010

SHOPPERS and traders in North London have been left dismayed as the shutters prepare to close on much-loved high street staple Woolworths. The company announced it had gone into administration on November 26, after it could not find a buyer. More than 30

SHOPPERS and traders in North London have been left dismayed as the shutters prepare to close on much-loved high street staple Woolworths.

The company announced it had gone into administration on November 26, after it could not find a buyer.

More than 30,000 employees from its 800 UK stores face redundancy after the retailer, which opened its first British store in 1909 in Liverpool, was discovered to be £385million in debt. The stores, including outlets in Finchley Road, Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Kentish Town and Camden Town, are now offering their "biggest sale ever".

Chris Freeman, chairman of the Crouch End Traders Association, said: "It's bad news when one of the main faces pulls out. But nothing is certain and hopefully a white knight will come along and Woolies will be saved. If it goes, it will mean a large empty plot in the high street which is never good."

Out on the streets of Finchley Road, shoppers expressed their sadness at the impending closure of such an institution.

Sylvie Lazyad, 28, from West Hampstead, said: "I used to get all my Christmas shopping there and my husband and I bought our first Christmas tree in Finchley Road years ago.

"You can get great bargains. I don't understand why they aren't doing well."

May Powel, 67, of Adelaide Road, said: "It's sad because it's been going for years. I go to get CDs and household things. It will be missed."

Nick Mavrides, chairman of the Kentish Town Business Association and manager of Ace Sport in Kentish Town Road, believes the closure of Woolworths will lead to a loss of profits for other stores. "I'm very saddened after having a name on the high street like that for 99 years," he said. "I think the area will suffer. People won't venture up this high because there's not a lot else going on and it attracted pedestrians.


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