Virgin Group faces hit from collapse of Woolworths

Virgin Group is the latest company to become embroiled in the collapse of high street retailer Woolworths. It is facing up to £100m in liabilities as it steps in to support Zavvi, the chain that was previously Virgin Megastores.

Zavvi, which was sold by Virgin to a management buyout a year ago, has been without key Christmas stock from Woolworths’ DVD and music wholesale arm due to the retailer’s collapse. It has been forced to pay upfront for stock from other suppliers to meet customer demand.

Virgin has stepped in with both cash and management advice as under the terms of last year’s deal, it guarantees Zavvi’s payments to suppliers for stock. It is understood to owe the high street retailer between £50m and £100m, but it is thought that it would look to pay with revenue from products sold in the run-up to Christmas.

Deloitte, the administrator to Woolworths, is still seeking a buyer for the core business, although this is not looking likely. Yesterday (December 4), entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis pulled out of the running.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here