Woolworths has forecast a return to profitibiliuty for its High Street stores in 2008 – after the High Street chain suffered a 3.2 per cent drop in like-for-like sales for the 49 weeks to January 12th.
The firm blamed ‘fierce discounting' across the electrical products sector for the dip – particularly flat screen TVs and PCs.
Total group sales increased by 11.2 per cent for the company's three core businesses: 2entertain, EUK/Bertram and Woolworths retail.
In a trading statement, Woolworths said it continued ‘to be concerned about the underlying level of consumer confidence
during 2008. As such we will continue to be cautious in our planning, placing emphasis on cost control, margin control and cash generation.
Commenting on Christmas trading, Woolworths CEO Trevor Bish-Jones said:
Christmas was a very challenging time for the Group. However, in spite of volatile and highly competitive markets, all parts of the business took steps forward. We are pleased that the progress made across the Group through this year is expected to lead to an improvement in profitability, including Woolworths Retail returning to profit.”