Is it a last shopping frenzy before the tills fall silent? As Woolworths, the failed British high street retailier, prepares to close down, people have inundated its stores across the UK in search of a bargain.
With mounting debts and plummeting sales, the century-old family firm was unable to withstand the trials of recession.
For many, it was an emotional occasion.
One shopper said: “It’s absolute mayhem in there. You can’t move. I’ve never seen it as busy as that. I think we all feel absolutely mortified that Woolworths is going. It’s an institution. What will life be like without Woolworths really. It’s sad.”
Administrators say they are still looking for a buyer but analysts feel the writing has been on the wall for “Woolies” for a long time.
Tim Danaher, Editor of Retail Week, said: “Times have changed and most shoppers aren’t really a sentimental bunch. These days, people go to places where prices are cheapest, the product ranges are the best and the services and store environment is the best on the high street, and none of those things could really be said about Woolworths.”
More than 800 shops across the country face closure and some 25,000 jobs are on the line.
If no white knight is found, Woolworths will become perhaps the most high profile casuality of Britian’s economic downturn to date.