Woolworths will close all 807 stores by January 5, according to administrator Deloitte.
The first Woolworths stores will close on December 27 and the 27,000 permanent and temporary staff will made redundant.
But Deloitte said it was still in talks with a number of third parties interested in the Woolworths brand name and the Ladybird and Chad Valley kidswear brands.
Deloitte added that a range of fashion, value and food retailers were interested in taking over 300 stores for their own businesses.
Neville Kahn, joint administrator at Deloitte said: "Whilst negotiations for the sale of Woolworths’ retail arm remain ongoing, and we continue to speak to new interested parties, regrettably we have had to begin a store closure programme. We are extremely grateful to the staff and management for their support throughout this difficult time."
He added: "We are confident that we will sell the leases of the 300 stores currently under offer and are hopeful that our ongoing discussions with other parties will also prove successful."
Woolworths fell into administration last month after failing to find a buyer.