Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Sales Fail to Sparkle for Woolworths

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Sales Fail to Sparkle for Woolworths

Article excerpt

Woolworths became the first retailer to report a tough Christmas season yesterday after sales of toys and blockbuster DVDs failed to meet expectations.

The high street giant described its performance as "disappointing" with like-for-like sales at its core estate of 806 shops unchanged on last year.

Shares in the FTSE 250 Index company fell 5pc as Woolies also indicated full-year profits were unlikely to be better than last time.

Analysts are now braced for more bad news from the sector as a clutch of Christmas trading statements are scheduled for the next fortnight.

Woolworths had been due to release its update next week but pushed it forward after realising the market's mid-range of profits forecasts was too high.

The City is now looking for a surplus of below pounds 70m in the year to January 31 ( broadly similar to last year and putting a mild dent in the recovery seen at the group over the last two years.

Woolworths said the season had been successful for product availability and margins but that a decision to put more toys into its stores had not paid off. …

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