Shares in Australian supermarket retailer Woolworths fell to a six-month low following a disappointing first-quarter trading update.

Woolworths said quarterly sales growth in its key food and liquor division would be around 5.6%, or 2.8% after stripping out new stores, reported Reuters.

The figures failed to match analysts' expectations of 8.5% and 3.8% respectively, leading analysts to cut fiscal 2004 profit forecasts by up to 2.0%.

Woolworths' main rival, Coles Myer, recently stepped up the competition with the launch of its discount fuel offer in July.