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Woolworths Holiday Retail Sales Down 4.6%

Woolworths Group reported Wednesday that holiday sales at its 806 stores fell 4.6%, but total group sales including Internet and catalog offerings grew 2.2%.

In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Woolworths said it anticipated a significant reduction in year-on-year profits, "in part reflecting the impact of the decline in the CD and DVD sales for Woolworths retail."

The company said it expected to lose between 2 million pounds to 4 million pounds ($4 million to $8 million) because outstanding debts due from Music Zone, a British music retailer which has gone into administration.

For the six weeks ending Jan. 13, Woolworths said sales through its Big Red Book catalog and through its Internet operations streetsonline, E.UK and 2entertain were up 204%, compared to a year earlier.