Verdict Research's Nick Gladding said he did not believe Hilco would run Woolworths as a going concern for long. "It would be difficult for someone to revive it as it faces unprecedented competition from supermarkets," he said, predicting: "They will look to dispose of the stores."
Woolworths said the discussions were in "preliminary" stages and refused to comment on the potential sale price, rumoured to be £1. Negotiations are believed to be focusing on how much of the business's debt Hilco would be prepared to take on. The other arms of the business - 2Entertain, the DVD publisher, and EUK, a specialist distribution business - would remain with the Woolworths Group.