Home Retail Group reports sales fall at Argos
Home Retail Group has said it expects sales at Argos to remain "challenging" in the first half of its financial year after reporting a decline in first quarter sales for the retailer.
In the 13 weeks to 30 May, total sales at Argos declined by 2.6% to £846 million while like-for-like sales dropped by 3.9%.
Home Retail Group attributed the fall to market declines in TV's, computers and tablets, although the effect was partially offset by growth in sales of mobiles.
Online sales for the quarter represented 44% of total Argos sales, up from 42% in the same period last year. Mobile commerce sales grew by 15% to represent 25% of total Argos sales, up from 21% in the prior year.
Net new space contributed 1.3% as the store estate grew by a net 33 stores to 788. The increase comprised a total of 35 new stores which included 32 digital concessions within Homebase, two digital concessions within Sainsbury's, and one small format digital store.
Meanwhile, total sales at Homebase fell by 1.6% to £438 million, although like-for-like sales climbed by 5.4%. Sales growth was seen in the big ticket, seasonal and remaining product categories.
Closed space reduced sales by 7% following 17 store closures in the quarter, which reduced the store portfolio to a total of 279.
Home Retail Group chief executive, John Walden, said: "The performance at Argos in the quarter was broadly in line with both our expectations and previous guidance, with sales being adversely impacted by market declines in key electrical and seasonal product categories. Homebase has made a good start to the year, successfully annualising a strong like-for-like sales performance last year.
"We continue to expect that sales will be challenging during the first half at Argos, but we look forward to a stronger second half as we progress the Transformation Plan and introduce new propositions more broadly to the market."
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