WOOLWORTHS was reported this evening to be going into administration, putting 30,000 jobs under threat in more than 800 stores, including in Minehead.
Accountancy consultants Deloitte was being appointed as administrators to the company, which would have celebrated its centenary in 2009.
A spokeswoman said Minehead and the other stores would remain open and keep trading for the time being.
Money had been ring-fenced to ensure staff would be paid as normal on Friday.
It was understood that Woolworths had been asked to do what it could to protect its pension fund, and to keep the stores open if possible during over Christmas.
Woolworths had £385 million of debt and had been in ongoing discussions with its two main bankers.
Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, called the collapse of Woolworths ‘devastating for staff’.
A spokesman said: “We were hopeful that a last minute deal would be done and will want to meet with the administrators as soon as possible.”