Gifts Today magazine

Home Retail Group suffers 'weaker' sales as demand for electronics slumps

Home Retail Group, which owns Argos and Homebase, experienced a “weaker” finish to the year to February 28, which dented its sales figures.

Like-for-likes at Argos fell 5 per cent in the eight weeks to February 28, while total sales during the same period were down 4 per cent as demand for electronic products dipped, reports Retail Week.

Despite the slow end to the year, full-year like-for-like sales at Argos edged up 0.6per cent, with total sales up 1.1per cent.

Sales at the group’s Homebase DIY chain also suffered as like-for-likes dropped 0.9per cent during the eight-week period. Total sales were down 4.7per cent.

Homebase like-for-likes were up 2.3per cent for the year, but total sales dropped 0.7per cent.

Home Retail Group reported total sales of £4.09bn for the year at Argos. Homebase achieved sales of £1.47bn for the 52 weeks to February 28.

Home Retail Group chief executive John Walden said: “We are pleased to have delivered another full-year of like-for-like sales growth in both Argos and Homebase.

“Although our sales performance was weaker in the final short trading period, we managed the business effectively during this period and achieved a good performance in both gross margin and costs.

“As a result of this, we expect that Group benchmark profit before tax for the FY15 financial year will be towards the top end of the current range of market expectations of £120m to £132m.

“Argos continues to make good progress with its transformation plan. Over the plan’s first two years we have delivered a significant amount of change and many new capabilities.

“However, it is important that we achieve an appropriate balance between the implementation of these new capabilities and ensuring good customer experiences. We are on track to deliver both the Argos Transformation Plan and the Homebase Productivity Plan over the next three years.”

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