Toys to clothing to sweets retailer Woolworths yesterday revealed wider underlying losses in its first-half trading, and warned that tough trading conditions continue to take their toll on the business.

Losses widened by £3 million to £35.9 million in the six month period, and same-store sales at its core chain fell by 1.7 per cent in the eight weeks since its last trading update.

The group normally has a busy second-half over the key Christmas period, but said it expected the retail environment to remain challenging.

Measures to encourage consumers to spend include improving the price of its products to boost sales and profitability. The retailer also plans to lower its costs by reducing the amount of packaging used on products.