CHRISTMAS is looking bleak for around 350 Hayes workers who have been made redundant following the collapse of music and DVD distrubtion firm Entertainment UK.
The company employed more than 1,000 people at its head office in Blyth Road, Hayes, and also at its distribution centre in North Hyde Road, Hayes.
It is part of the Woolworths Group and has been under the control of administrators Deloitte since the collapse of the American retail giant last month.
It has tried to sell as a going concern but the company today (Friday) issued a statement which read: "Regrettably, despite our continued efforts, we have been unable to identify a suitable buyer for the business.
"Whilst we will continue to consider offers for the sale of the business as a going concern, we will now focus on realising value from the company's assets.
"Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 700 redundancies at the company's head office and distribution centres in Middlesex. We will retain a core team of 375 employees."
The Administrators are working closely with Job Centre Plus to provide support and advice to employees who have been made redundant, and the Insolvency Service's Redundancy Payments Service has put together a team to quickly approve claims for employee entitlements.
The other job losses are from the company's other distribution centres in Greenford, Ealing.
Deloitte added: "We are extremely grateful to the staff and management for their support throughout this difficult time."
John McDonnell (Lab) MP for Hayes and Harlington, said: "I was in contact with the managers of Entertainment UK as soon as I heard about the collapse of Woolworths.
"I offered all the support I could and since then have been working with Deloitte to explore all options for the business.
"Moving quickly is what counts when we are talking about helping people who are about to lose their jobs. When the airline industry took a dive after September 11 I helped the sacked workers and did the same with Nestles and with Marks and Spencer.
"I have approached the Hayes job centre to ensure the staff being made redundant get help to find new jobs and if necessary extra training if they have to switch careers entirely.
"These are testing times and I want to do all I can to help people through them."
Are you one of the people made redundant? If you would like to tell your story contact Dan Coombs at the Gazette on 01895 451 030.