A TOTAL of 27,000 shop workers were today told they will lose their jobs when Woolworths shuts all its 813 stores by January 5.

The news was confirmed at 2pm by administrators, who said it would affect 22,000 permanent staff and 5000 temporary workers.

But there was still hope for some staff because administrator Deloitte said it had received interest from alternative retailers for more than 300 stores.

The firm has 81 stores in Scotland and shoppers have stripped shelves at closing-down sales over the last two weeks following the failure to find a buyer for the struggling firm.

Deloitte had already warned some stores could close before the end of the month if no offers for the business emerged.

Woolworths, which has been in business for 99 years, called in administrators three weeks ago as debts mounted in a worsening high street climate.

The administrator said it would consult employees to discuss support available over redundancies.

Deloitte has held talks with former Woolworths chief executive Sir Geoff Mulcahy and Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis but no deals have been struck.

The complexity of the group's leases have reportedly put off interested parties.