Woolworths reports £100m H1 loss

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Woolworths has reported group losses of almost 100 million for the six months to the start of August.

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.

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