THE future of crisis-hit store chain Woolworths today looked a little brighter as it emerged that potential buyers for the firm have come forward less than 24 hours after the retail giant went into administration.

This is seen as a glimmer of hope for thousands of staff employed at dozens of stores across Scotland after it was revealed the high street giant has amassed losses of £385million.

Woolworths has 813 outlets across the UK and employs 30,000 workers. In Scotland, more than 4000 staff work at 81 stores.

The retail arm of the business has gone bust. But Woolworths also owns 2 Entertain, a joint venture with the BBC which publishes DVDs of several television series such as Doctor Who and Blue Planet.

That part of the business is not in administration and store chiefs are trying to sell their 40% stake in 2 Entertain for £100m.

Hopes that a buyer might be found for the stores was revealed by Dan Butters of accountancy firm Deloitte who said there had been "expressions of interest from a number of parties for both the retail and wholesale businesses."

But the possible loss of one of Britain's iconic retailers has stunned workers even though the chain's financial problems were known.

One staff member at the Argyle Street store in Glasgow city centre admitted: "We knew it was coming but it's still a shock.

"I've been here for four years and it was the kind of job you thought you would be safe in as Woolworths is a British institution."

However, he added: "We've been having staff meetings and most people are upset.

"I'm not sure what will happen to my job but I'm going to start looking elsewhere anyway, not that there's much chance of finding anything.

"The job situation is grim at the moment and this couldn't have come at a worse time right before Christmas." Glasgow shoppers shocked by the fall of a high street giant JOAN CLARK, 70, Sandyhills, shop worker: It's terrible news. Woolworths has been part of the high street as I've known it for 60 years. It is an institution. No matter what you need, you know you can find it in Woolworths. DAVID WRIGHT, 34, Erskine, shop worker: It's a real shame. The nearest Woolworths to me shut down a while ago. I come into the city to visit the store because it's great for Christmas shopping - I'll really miss it if it goes. GILLIAN WRIGHT, 31, Erskine: I shop in Woolworths all the time and I can't believe this has happened. The stores are always busy so I can't understand how the people in charge have allowed the business to get into trouble. MELISSA CURRIE, 20, Eaglesham, croupier: I feel sorry for the staff. It must be horrible to have this hanging over your head at Christmas. MICHAEL McNAUGHTON, 22, Uddingston, croupier: It's a shame. There's a Woolworths on most high streets and it's such a popular shop. It must be terrible for the staff to have to deal with this at this time of year. TOMMY McINALLY, 41, Drumchapel, unemployed: It's a disgrace that this has been allowed to happen. It makes me furious that we might lose the shop forever. KERRY BLACK, 31, Alexandria, full time mum: It's terrible for the poor staff to be facing this so near to Christmas. What a disgraceful way to treat people. They must have known the business was in trouble for a while. IAN THOMSON, 39, Alexandria, storeman: It will be missed if it goes completely. The situation now with the credit crunch is getting really bad but Woolworths won't get bailed out, like the banks. It's terrible.