High street retailer Woolworths has announced that its sales have continued to slide during the last half-year, blaming tough market conditions for its losses.
The firm says it recorded a loss of £64.9 million for the 26 weeks to July 29th, more than triple the amount it was in the red at the corresponding time last year.
Overall group sales were down 3.6 per cent to £982.9 million, but it is the 8.3 per cent fall in like-for-like sales that has company bosses hoping for an upturn of fortune in the run-up to Christmas.
Trevor Bish-Jones, Woolworths chief executive, pointed to the relative success of the company's entertainment divisions as reasons to be cheerful, but admitted that sales figures were "comparatively much weaker".
The company chief claims that the installation of 92 Ladybird shop within a shop children's clothing outlets would boost the firm's flagging sales.
"We are expecting a better performance in the second half from the significant amount of work undertaken to improve the infrastructure of the retail business," he said.
Mr Bish-Jones also insisted that the expansion of Woolworths' home delivery service meant the firm was entering the crucial second-half with trading "somewhat improved", with tight control being retained over stocks and costs.