Cuts made to improve competitiveness
Variety retailer Woolworths is set to shut 200 outlets over the next three years, on top of the 60 stores it has identified for closure already, as it battles to compete with high street stores and out-of-town supermarkets.

City analysts expect the retail division to make an operating loss of about£9 million in the year to the end of January, against last year's profit of£17 million.

Woolworths revealed like-for-like retail sales slid 4.6 per cent for the six weeks to January 13. However, full-year profit - excluding the impact of the collapse of Music Zone, a retailer supplied by Woolworths' THE business - remained in line with market expectations. Total group sales increased 2.2 per cent for the period.