Gerald Corbett is stepping down as chairman of Woolworths after six years.

Corbett will leave the job at the retailer's agm on 6 June and will be replaced by Richard North, who joined Woolworths last year as a non-executive director.

It was time to hand over the reins, said Corbett. "I am pleased with the entertainment, wholesale and publishing businesses we have built. Recent performance has been disappointing but building blocks are in place for a recovery."

The struggling retailer posted a warning at the end of last year, stating that like-for-like sales in its retail division had fallen by 6.5% in the 18 weeks to 2 December.