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Possible Woolworths' sale underscores UK retail problems

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Possible Woolworths' sale underscores UK retail problems

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The British general merchandise retailer Woolworths is reported to be in talks to sell its 800 loss-making shops and profitable DVD publishing and a distribution business for just 1.20 euros.

Company restructuring specialist Hilco may buy it and assume the huge debt. The move illustrated the level of pressure on Britain’s high street retailers as they try to cope with the recession.

In another sign of the extent of the UK consumer downturn, major retailers Marks & Spencer and Debenhams are both holding pre-Christmas sales this week. A rapid slump in consumer spending has forced a string of big name British retailers to go into administration, which protects them from their creditors while they reorganise.