Woolworths’ like-for-like sales fell 4.4% in the 24 weeks to July 16, the group has revealed.

In a trading update to the City this morning, the retailer said that the retail climate since its last update in June remained difficult.

Woolworths chief executive, Trevor Bish-Jones, said: “The retail environment remains challenging and against this background we continue to be disciplined about controlling costs and stock while taking action to improve the group’s businesses.”