Woolworths has revealed it will cut 400 jobs as it seeks to save $500m (£255m) after posting its first quarterly sales fall in two decades.

The retailer is cutting jobs

The Australian grocery firm’s chief executive Grant O’Brien revealed the company wanted to cut the roles on top of the 400 full-time positions it has already removed from its back office functions as part of making it a leaner retailer.

Sales at the group, which also includes a general merchandise, hotels and DIY arm, fell by 2.1% to $14.96bn for the quarter ending April 5 when taking into account the earlier than usual Easter break.

O’Brien said: “Easter falling largely into the third quarter this year has created a timing difference when compared to last year. At the half year 2015 results, we informed the market that Australian food and liquor sales in December and January were disappointing.

“While February and March showed some improvement, April was more subdued and there is still much to do.”

In order to turn around its core Australian grocery business, Woolworths is investing in lowering prices on everyday items as it seeks to cope with the growth of Aldi.

Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters came out fighting after the results against commentators labelling the company as a broken business, but did admit management had made tactical errors.