Argos sales growth boosted by gadgets
Its owner, Home Retail Group, said the improved performance was driven by strong growth in sales of tablets, e-readers, and white goods. This offset declines in the video gaming and audio categories and weaker trading in seasonal products.
Sales via the retailer’s online Check & Reserve service grew by 24% while total internet sales increased by 16%, representing 42% of total Argos sales. Total multi-channel sales made up 52% of total sales, up from 47% a year earlier.
DIY chain Homebase, which is also owned by Home Retail Group, saw its total sales fall by 3.9% to £366 million in the quarter. Like-for-like sales declined by 3.7% as sales of seasonal products were impacted by the unseasonably wet weather in the quarter. Sales for the remaining categories were broadly flat.
This meant that across the first half of the year sales were down by 6.2% at Homebase to £787 million, while at Argos sales grew 0.6% to £1.69 billion.
Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group, said: "Argos has had a solid first half of the year supported by its multi-channel performance, while at Homebase seasonal product sales continued to be adversely impacted by the poor weather conditions.
"At this stage, we expect to deliver full year Group benchmark profit in line with current market expectations but, as always, the outcome will depend upon trading at Argos in its peak Christmas period. While we continue to plan cautiously we approach our peak trading period in good operational shape."
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