Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 08:00 UK

Head of Woolworths to step down

Woolworths store
Woolworths says the spending power of shoppers will come under pressure

Retail group Woolworths has said its chief executive is to step down and has reported a further decline in sales.

Woolworths said Trevor Bish-Jones would step down after it was agreed it was an "appropriate time" for a new leader.

The news came as Woolworths said group sales were down 1.9% in the 19 weeks to 14 June, while like-for-like sales at its High Street stores were down 2.2%.

In addition, Woolworths also said it was selling four of its London stores to Waitrose, raising 25.5m in cash.

Spending power cut

Woolworths has been lowering prices on some goods in an attempt to improve sales and cash flow into the business.

"We believe that the spending power of many consumers will be reduced by a number of factors including rising energy and food prices," the company said in a statement.

However, it warned that "aggressive price action" would have an effect on profit margins in the coming months.

Chairman Richard North said that Mr Bish-Jones and the board had agreed that it was "an appropriate time" to seek a new leader for the business.

Mr Bish-Jones joined Woolworths from Dixons Group in 2002. He has agreed to remain in his post for three months while a successor is sought.

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