Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

UK: Strong Christmas sales reported at Currys, PC World and Argos

09:53 17 January 2013

Owner Home Retail Group has reported increased sales for Argos in the run-up to Christmas

Owner Home Retail Group has reported increased sales for Argos in the run-up to Christmas

DIXONS Retail, owner of PC World and Currys, today reported a bigger than expected surge in Christmas sales following the demise of rival Comet.

shares

And rival Home Retail Group said consumer electronics had also contributed to strong seasonal sales for its Argo catalogue business, in an early sign of success for its new digital strategy, although sales it its Homebase DIY and garden centres chain continued to suffer.

Dixons said its like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland were up 8% in the 12 weeks to January 5, despite the administrators of Comet holding a clearance sale for the vast bulk of the period.

The group said sales of tablet computers were “phenomenal”, with more than a million sold in the UK and Ireland over the period, with five a second in the week before Christmas.

Apple iPads made up a third of tablet sales, but it also had strong demand for the Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus models.

Chief executive Sebastian James believed the group gained many new customers from Comet, prompting it to take on 500 permanent staff from the failed chain.

More than 1,000 of its temporary Christmas staff came from Comet after it went into administration in November.

Dixons warned that margins were down 0.5% in the period, with the mark-up on tablet computers lower than on laptops, but it said it still expected underlying profits for the year to be in line with market expectations of between £75million and £85m.

Meanwhile, Home Retail Group said internet sales had accounted for 42% of all Argos business as more shoppers took advantage of the chain’s new tablet and smartphone apps, as well as click and collect services.

Argos sales rose 2.7% on a like-for-like basis in the 18 weeks to January 5, meaning Home Retail’s profits for the year to March would be £10m ahead of current City forecasts of £73m.

The Argos business, which sells products in 739 stores as well as online and through a television channel, took a total of £1.74billion over the 18 week period, a rise of 1.6% when store closures are accounted for.

Consumer electronics, particularly tablet computers, drove the improvement, while there was also growth in white goods, toys and core electricals. This was offset by weaker trading in homewares and jewellery categories.

Home Retail announced plans in October to scale back circulation of its catalogue and revitalise the business through its digital presence.

Stores will be kitted out with internet access and Wi-Fi, with a fast-track collection service and customer service for orders.

Home Retail hopes to grow Argos sales from £3.9 billion to £4.5 billion a year in 2018 in an “ambitious but achievable” overhaul that comes after a period of declining sales.

Matt Piner of retail consultancy Conlumino said the figures showed the popularity of “click & collect” shopping over Christmas.

He added: “Downsizing its store portfolio to provide an optimum network of click & collect hubs will now be crucial if the retailer is to build on this performance.”

Home Retail’s Homebase division, which has 337 stores, saw total sales decline by 4.5% to £453m, including a fall of 3.9% on a like-for-like basis.

shares

0 comments

EADT BUSINESS

Chris and Hayley Lee, pictured outside The Bildeston Crown

PICTURE CONTRIBUTED 

EADT 20/9/07
EADT 22/12/07
EADT 25.4.09

A couple who held senior posts at a country hotel-restaurant when it won a clutch of awards has returned.

Holiday parks group Park Resorts is to merge with rival operator Parkdean.

The UK’s biggest holiday park operator is to be created through a £960million merger deal involving Parkdean and Park Resorts.

Matt Howard and Stuart Morton of chartered accountants and business advisers Price Bailey.

Twenty-four staff have lost their jobs at a Lowestoft department store which went into administration last month as urgent efforts continue to find a buyer for the business.

Halfords has reported a fall in bike sales over the past two months.
Photo: Newscast/Mathew Growcoot

Halford today reported a slump in bike sales over the last two months amid rainy weather and heavy discounting.

ASOS chief executive Nick Robertson, who is stepping down with immediate effect.

Online fashion retailer ASOS said today that its chief executive Nick Robertson is to step down with immediate effect from the helm of the company he founded 15 years ago.

BSP International Foundations, part of Tex Holdings plc of Great Blakenham, which has bought the assets and business of G & M Power Plant.

Nineteen out of 35 jobs at an electric generator manufacturer have been saved after its business and assets were bought out of administration on Wednesday.

Maria Peyman of Birketts with colleagues Katherine Shadbolt and Kitty Rosser.

Maria Peyman has joined the commercial litigation team at law firm Birketts as a senior associate.

Aga is at the centre of a takeover tussle after revealing US electronic appliances giant Whirlpool was considering a bid to rival Middleby's £129 million offer.

Upmarket cooker firm Aga Rangemaster is at the centre of a takeover tussle after revealing US electronic appliances giant Whirlpool was considering a bid to rival Middleby’s £129 million offer.

A Punch Tavern pub

Pub group Punch Taverns is set to post a slight fall in annual earnings as it continues to offload pubs to cut its debt pile.

Landmark House and Beacon House.

A facilities management business owned by Suffolk County Council is moving home and undergoing a re-brand.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages