The joint administrators of Entertainment UK, the wholesale division of Woolworths, have said they are “scaling down” efforts to sell the business, having been unable to find a buyer. As a result 700 employees have been made redundant today (12 December 2008).
E.UK will however continue to operate with a reduced workforce of 375 employees, while the administrators continue to realise value from the assets of the business.
Dan Butters, joint administrator and reorganisation services partner at Deloitte, said: “Regrettably, despite our continued efforts, we have been unable to identify a suitable buyer for the business. Whilst we will continue to consider offers for the sale of the business as a going concern, we will now focus on realising value from the company’s assets.
“Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 700 redundancies at the company’s head office and distribution centres in Middlesex. We will retain a core team of 375 employees.”
The administrators have said they are working closely with Job Centre Plus to provide support and advice to employees who have been made redundant, and the Insolvency Service’s Redundancy Payments Service has put together a team to quickly approve claims for employee entitlements.
Bertrams Books, a fully owned subsidiary of E.UK, and 2Entertain, a joint venture between E.UK and BBC Worldwide, will continue to trade as usual.