Investment bank Citi has said Woolworths has no future in its present form and has called its stores “worthless”.

Citi retail analyst Bruce Hubbard said: “We are far from persuaded that the retail chain can lay claim to any equity value. The past three to four years have seen a widely respected management team generally lose its battle against the competitive forces of a dire retail segment.”

Hubbard added that the UK appears to be heading towards a non-food consumer recession. "Woolworths is not a chain where we would choose to ride out such a downturn. Put simply, this is not an equity that long-term investors should engage with, given theUK’s current macro-parameters,” he said.

The bank cut its Woolworths price target by nearly half to 12p.

Hubbard said the variety retailer’s 818 stores suffered from a lack of scale and poor locations.