Argos-owner Home Retail Group took a sales hit of between £20m and £30m hit over Christmas because of the snow but full-year profits are likely to be better than feared.
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Like-for-like sales at the flagship Argos chain fell 4.9% in the 18 weeks to January 1, when total sales slipped 3.2% to £1.86bn.
However Argos’s performance was better than expected and Home Retail Group’s profits will come in at the mid-point of guidance of between £250m and £275m.
The internet accounted for about £700m or 38% of Argos’s sales. The check and reserve service was especially popular with shoppers worried that the snow would hold up orders from etailers or lead to shortages on retailers’ shelves.
Argos reported that video games was its poorest category and televisions were down year-on-year. Laptop and tablet computers, white goods and toys all did well – Argos sold 1m Lego products and 6m of its own Chad valley toys.
Home Retail Group chief Terry Duddy executive was pleased with the performance but warned trading prospects remain volatile.
He said: “It will be a difficult year and like-for-like sales will clearly be hard to come by.”
Home Retail’s Homebase home enhancement business reported a 1.2% like-for-like sales fall. Total sales were down 2.8% to £487m.