Argos like-for-like sales down 2.8% in second quarter
Home Retail Group saw like-for-like sales at its Argos chain decline by 2.8% in its second quarter as the retailer saw a continued decline in sales of TVs, tablets and white goods.
In the 13 weeks to 29 August, total sales at Argos fell by 0.4% to £897 million.
Online sales for the quarter represented 46% of total Argos sales, up from 44% for the same period last year. Within this, mobile commerce sales rose by 11% to represent 25% of total Argos sales, up from 22% in the prior year.
During the period, Argos grew its store portfolio by 52 to take the total to 840. The increase comprised 44 digital concessions within Homebase and eight digital concessions within Sainsbury's.
John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, said: "Argos delivered an improved sales performance in the second quarter. It made good progress with new stores, opening more than 50 digital concessions within Homebase and Sainsbury's, which have generated encouraging early results. Consistent with our previous guidance, Argos' sales continued to be adversely impacted by the performance of a number of key electrical product categories as well as weaker overall market conditions in August.”
Meanwhile, like-for-like sales at Homebase rose by 5.9% although total sales declined by 2.8% to £378 million as a result of the retailer’s ongoing store closure programme.
Home Retail Group said the sales growth was achieved across all product categories at Homebase, particularly in big ticket items.
Looking ahead, Walden said the outcome for Home Retail Group's full-year was dependent on the key Christmas trading period at Argos which he said seem seemed less predictable this year due to a “less certain” promotional environment.
He added: “Our teams have made solid progress preparing for this period, including substantially completing the technology and operational steps necessary to introduce new store collection and home delivery propositions to our customers. We will be making increased marketing and promotional investments to launch these propositions and we expect customers to increasingly embrace them over time."
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