Woolworths in Britain has buckled under its debt and is to go into administration.
The company opened in 1909 in Liverpool and now has 815 stores and 25,000 employees. Deloitte will be appointed as administrators.
The BBC reports Woolworths has been losing market share for years against intense competition.
The company's weak position was also the reason why the government did not intervene to rescue it.
Woolworths in Britain has no connection with several retail chains around the world that carry the same name.
Last-minute talks to find a buyer had failed when Woolworth shares were suspended on the London Stock Exchange.
The company has debt totalling Stg385 million.
It has been forced to pay cash when buying goods from suppliers over the past couple of months, because trade credit insurers were no longer prepared to insure suppliers to Woolworths.