Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 10:17 UK

Sales slide again at Woolworths

Woolworths store
Woolworths said sales of CDs and DVDs was still strong

Retailer Woolworths has annnounced a sharp drop in sales in June and July amid worsening conditions on the UK High Street.

Sales excluding new stores were 6.7% lower in the six weeks to 26 July, after a fall in sales of outdoor products such as garden furniture.

After a review of the business, Woolworths is concentrating on its small and medium sized branches.

It is selling four of its large stores to Waitrose for 25.5m.

It is also looking for a new chief executive to replace Trevor Bish-Jones, who announced his departure last month.

Woolworth's said demand for entertainment products was still strong and that a larger proportion of its sales had come from lower margin CDs and DVDs.

Sales of outdoor products, such as garden furniture, and clothing, which have higher profit margins, have fallen, the firm said.

"The retail business has seen a marked worsening of conditions in June and July in an increasingly competitive market," said chairman Richard North.

"Sales in the first half as a whole have been achieved with a disappointing margin performance," he added.

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