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Woolies faces ‘challenging’ conditions

The High Street chain’s like-for-like sales fell by 7.7 per cent during the period, though the report highlighted solid sales profits in refitted stores – which will number 100 by Christmas. The figures follow a 3.9 per cent decline in annual sales, ending on January 28th. Despite this, Woolworths is anticipating a full year improvement in gross margins, driven in part by improvements in supply chain efficiency.

Meanwhile, third party sales at distribution arm EUK for the period were up 10.7 per cent, and sales at the group’s 40 per cent owned 2entertain were up 5.3 per cent.

“This performance shows that for us the current retail environment remains challenging,” said Trevor Bish-Jones, chief executive of Woolworths group. “Against that backdrop we continue to improve the business by investing in the store base, rapidly enhancing our multi-channel capability and driving efficiencies through our supply chain.”     

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