UK: Like-for-like sales growth for Argos and Homebase

Like-for-like sales at Argos increased by 1.9% in the quarter to June 1

Like-for-like sales at Argos increased by 1.9% in the quarter to June 1

Demand for tablet computers and televisions have helped Argos maintain its sales recovery, despite the impact of poor weather on seasonal products.

Home Retail Group, which owns the 737-store business, said like-for-like sales at Argos increased by 1.9% in the quarter to June 1, with total sales up 1.2% at £828million.

Chief executive Terry Duddy said the figures represented a good start to the financial year for Argos, although the company’s Homebase DIY business traded slightly below company expectations due to the poor weather.

Homebase grew sales by 0.2% to £422m, with the figure excluding changes in store space up by 1.4% in the quarter.

Argos returned to profits growth earlier this year amid a drive for more online and mobile sales and the roll-out of click and collect services.

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Consumer electronics maintained its positive sales performance in the most recent quarter, alongside continued growth in white goods and core electricals.

This was offset by declines in the markets for video gaming and audio categories as well as the weaker performance in seasonal products.

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The greater mix of sales from the ultra-competitive consumer electronics market had an impact on Argos’s profit margin, which was down by just under one percentage point compared with a year earlier.

Analysts also noted a two percentage point margin decline at Homebase as a result of an increase in promotional activity against an unusually low level a year earlier.

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