Losses narrow at Woolworths

Woolworths reduced its loss in the half year to August 4, the company announced today.

The variety retailer, whose sales and profits have both suffered as competition intensified, reported an adjusted loss of £59.2m compared to a loss of £66.8m in the previous year. Group sales were up 16% to £1.14b.

Chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones described the results as “encouraging” but warned that Christmas trading could be difficult, with customer confidence dented following the Northern Rock crisis and interest rate rises.

Meanwhile, like-for-like sales at Debenhams dropped 5% in the year to September 1 2007 owing to disruption caused by the store refurbishment programme. However, overall sales rose 5.1%, the retailer said in a statement ahead of October’s full-year results.

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