The group, which is being eyed by Icelandic raider Baugur, according to reports, reported an adjusted first-half loss of£66.8 million for the 26 weeks to July 29. This was against a loss of£36.2 million for the year before. Like-for-like sales at the business fell 8.3 per cent.
Woolworths chief executive Trevor Bish-Jones said that Woolworths' figures were weak because of tough market conditions, but said he expected a better performance in the second half, during which time there will be a store revamp programme and improvements to the chain's multichannel offer.
Woolworths' like-for-like sales were down 3.5 per cent for the seven weeks to September 16 - an improving trend driven by normal weather patterns and stronger performance from the entertainment category, according to the retailer.
Bish-Jones said the retail business faces some strategic channels, as well as opportunities, going forward. Tricky areas highlighted by the group include the long-term sustainability of the 'physical entertainment product market' and rising property costs.
Woolworths also operates entertainment wholesales and publishing businesses, 2 Entertain, Entertainment UK (EUK) and Total Home Retail, which the group acquired earlier this month.
Bish-Jones said: 'The immediate prospects for 2 Entertain look bright on the back of its Christmas release schedule and for EUK the acquisition of Total Home Retail gives a broader customer base and a wider range of revenue streams.'
Over the period, Woolworths refitted 68 stores to the 10/10 concept and plans to complete the roll-out of 92 Ladybird children's clothing shop-in-shops by Christmas.
A Woolworths in store and home catalogue will launch in October, offering 5,000 lines.