Sales in Woolworths stores have fallen 3.2 per cent for the 25 weeks to 26 July 2008, whilst EUK's and Bertram's sales were down one per cent over the same period last year.
The retailer stated that the fall in sales was due to the ‘continued strength of the entertainment market', with a larger proportion of sales coming from lower margin CDs and DVDs as opposed to higher margin warm weather outdoor items.
The company also stated that despite falling sales ‘EUK continued to progress well,' following major changes at the firm.
Our EUK and 2e businesses are continuing to trade well,” said Woolworths Chairman Richard North. The retail business, however, has seen a marked worsening of conditions in June and July in an increasingly competitive market. This is reflected in the sales figures for the last six weeks. In addition, sales over the first half as a whole have been achieved with a disappointing margin performance.
"Looking ahead we remain cautious about the outlook for retail given the background of a weakening consumer economy. But we have strong operational management in place in all parts of the business who are working hard to ensure that the needs of all our customers - both wholesale and retail - continue to be met."
Woolworths are currently in the process of selling four retail stores to Waitrose.