Woolworths in talks to sell retail arm

Woolworths is understood to be in talks about a possible sale of its retail business. It is not known who the ailing high street retailer to talking to about a potential deal.

The retailer, which also has an entertainment wholesale and a distribution arm, rejected a £50m offer from Icelandic investor Baugur and retail entrepreneur Malcolm Walker in September but it was rejected.

A report in The Times today (November 19) says that Woolworths is talking to Hilco, a company that specialists in turning around struggle businesses, about a possible £1 sale, but the retailer has not confirmed the speculation.

The retailer posted a £90.8m drop in underlying pre-tax profits for the six months to August 2, which it attributed to “operational issues and strategic challenges”. The results led to the departure of then chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones. He has been replaced by Steve Johnson, the former chief executive of DIY chain, Focus.

Meanwhile, it has attempted to boost sales with a series of initiatives including selling chart DVDs for less than £10, and installing concessions of fashion retailer Store 21 in its larger high street stores. The retailer’s advertising is handled by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

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