The administrators of UK retail chain Woolworths are to close all 807 of its stores by 5 January, with the loss of 27,000 jobs, failing a last minute bid for the business.

The store closures will take place in four stages beginning on 27 December said Neville Kahn, joint administrator at financial adviser Deloitte.

Administrators have put in place a support mechanism and fast-track redundancy process, assisted by the UK government.

More than 300 Woolworths stores are under offer from food, clothing and value retailers including Tesco, which could help to save some jobs.

A spokesperson for Tesco told just-style: "We did pick up a handful of Woolworths store months and months ago, but in terms of other stores we would hope to pick up we would never comment on future plans." 

A spokesperson for another UK clothing retailer, Marks and Spencer, told just-style the retailer had "no plans to purchase any stores at the moment." 

Kahn said that discussions are also continuing to sell different parts of the business, including the trademarks for Woolworths, Ladybird children's wear and Chad Valley Toys.

Woolworths went into administration on 27 November after running up debts estimated at GBP385m (US$594m).

Interest from potential buyers from Asia, Africa and the Americas for the company has failed to bear any fruit in recent weeks though, Kahn confirmed.

Meanwhile, Woolworths has started closing down sales with 40m items discounted by 20-60%. After record sales, the defiant retailer is still planning to replenish 50m items of stock this week.