Sales for the retail business were £660.7 million in the half-year, down 3.2 per cent like-for-like.
The company's entertainment wholesale and publishing arm - including its BBC Worldwide joint venture 2entertain - posted sales of £446.3 million.
Overall group losses of £99.7 million compared with a deficit of £63.8 million a year earlier.
Operating losses for the retail business, which trades from around 800 stores in the UK, were £69.5 million.
Steve Johnson, who joined the company as chief executive earlier this month, said: "Right now, this business does not require lots of new strategic initiatives, it requires a good dose of basic shop keeping and attention to the detail of retailing.
"Everyone in Woolworths is clear that our first priority - in all parts of the group - is delivering a successful Christmas for our customers."
Last month the firm rejected a takeover approach from investment group Baugur – owner of the Iceland food chain.
According to the Press Association, reports suggest the parties remain interested in the chain's stores.