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Retailers must adapt to survive, says Mandelson

Retailers cannot rely on government bail outs and must expect an increasingly competitive market, business minister Peter Mandelson has warned.

Following the announcement that Woolworths is to close all its stores by January 5 with the loss of 27,000 jobs, Mandelson said companies like Woolworths needed to adapt to survive, in a television interview today.

Mandelson said that older established retailers would come under come under pressure.

"They have got to change, restructure, and keep up and match that competitive pressure if they are going to survive," he said. "And that is a tough lesson I am afraid for all of us in the economy. And the government's job is to help that restructuring, to help companies, outlets, change with the times, so they can maintain their viability."

He added: "But if at the end of the day that's not possible then we have and we will do everything we can to find alternative jobs for those who are directly affected by any business failure."

Mandelson said that although the government was looking at whether or not to support the struggling car industry, he ruled out bailouts across the economy.

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