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Homebase sales growth lifts Home Retail Group

Group benchmark profit before tax for the first half expected to be broadly in line with last year’s £121m.

CITY & CORPORATE

Homebase sales growth lifts Home Retail Group

Total sales at Argos grew by 2.5 per cent to 951m. Net new space contributed 3.9 per cent; a net four new stores opened in the quarter, taking the portfolio to 739.

Like-for-like sales

declined by 1.4 per cent in the quarter. There was growth in consumer electronics as a whole, with strong performances in televisions and personal computers

offsetting weakness in the video gaming market. Toys grew strongly, while furniture remained challenging.

Online Check & Reserve grew by nearly 50 per cent in the quarter, with the internet overall accounting for 28 per cent of Argos' sales.

Total sales at Homebase grew by 2.9% to 401m. Net new space contributed 1.3%; two new stores opened in the quarter, taking the portfolio to 350.

Like-for-like sales increased by 1.6% in the quarter, stimulated by successful promotions and the clearance of over-wintered stock.

Terry Duddy, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, commented: “We are pleased that both Argos and Homebase performed well, delivering cash margin ahead of our expectations. Combined with exceptionally good cost management, this means we now expect Group benchmark profit before tax for the first half to be broadly in line with last year's 121m.

“We approach the key Christmas trading period from a position of operational and financial strength, but continue to plan cautiously for consumer demand. We will also have a more significant impact from adverse currency movements in the second half of the year.”

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