Woolworths has posted a record fall in underlying pre-tax profits of £90.8m in the six months to August 2. The high street retailer has attributed the loss to “operational issues and strategic challenges” facing its retail arm.
The disappointing result was lower than the £64m profit loss it made in the same period last year.
Sales for its retail business in the first half of this year totalled £660.7m, which was down 3.2% on a like-for-like basis, while its entertainment wholesale and publishing arm – which includes its BBC Worldwide joint venture, 2entertain – returned flat sales of £446.3m.
The results follows the company’s rejection last month of a £50m take over bid for its 815-store retail business from a consortium of Icelandic investor Baugur and retail entrepreneur Malcolm Walker.
Steve Johnson, Woolworths chief executive, who joined the company earlier this month, says: “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.”