National chain store Wilko has been fined £2.2m after a worker was crushed and left paralysed.
Corisande Collins, 23, was pinned under a metal cage of paint while working at a store in Leicester in 2013.
Ms Collins, who was working part-time while studying for a degree, now uses a wheelchair. Her family confirmed they will now be seeking compensation.
Leicester Crown Court heard the company admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
Ms Collins, from Glenfield, had just completed the first year of a degree at Northampton University and had taken work at the Beaumont Shopping Centre branch.
She was pulling a roll cage overloaded with 230kg (507lb) of paint out of a lift when it toppled on her, the court heard.
The prosecution described it as a "high culpability case" as there was no risk assessment for the lift or the use of the roll cages, as well as "inadequate training and supervision".
Health and safety inspectors said they were "shocked" by practices at the store, adding "the systems were unsafe".
In a statement the company said it accepted the ruling and would not appeal.
It said: "The greater penalty for all of us is knowing that on this occasion we let one of our team members down.
"We are truly sorry that this incident happened and for the impact it has had on Corisande, her family and those around them, which the judge today recognised they have faced as a family and with great fortitude."
Ms Collins has said the injuries would not stop her achieving what she wanted in life.
Her lawyer, Linda Millband, said: "It's obviously been very difficult because [Corisande] was extremely young when this happened.
"But I think they feel that the end of the criminal case will help her in her rehabilitation."