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Home Retail slightly ahead of expectations

Home Retail Group, said benchmark profit before tax for the year will be around £290m, slightly ahead of current market expectations.

CITY & CORPORATE

Home Retail slightly ahead of expectations

Total sales at Argos declined by 6.6% to £537m.Net new space contributed 2.8%; there were three openings and two closures in the period, increasing the store portfolio to 745.

Like-for-like sales declined by 9.4%, which included the approximate 3% negative impact of the later launch of the Spring/Summer catalogue, as well as an adverse impact of poor weather in this short and low volume period.

Total sales at Homebase were held at £205m.Net new space contributed 0.6%; there were 349 stores trading throughout the period.Like-for-like sales declined by 0.6%, which included an adverse weather impact.

Terry Duddy, CEO, commented: 'Group benchmark profit before tax for the year will be around £290m, slightly ahead of current market expectations. This is a good outcome to a challenging year, and is combined with excellent cash generation. The final short trading period reported today saw volatile trading patterns, making it difficult to assess any changes in underlying consumer demand. For the new financial year, we continue to plan cautiously given the uncertain economic outlook, but do so from our position of operational and financial strength.'

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