Argos sales boost from extra furnishings lines

More than 1,000 new furniture and textiles lines helped catalogue store chain Argos to boost sales this autumn.

Total sales at Argos in the six months to September 30 increased by 12 per cent and 7 per cent like-for-like.

David Tyler, finance director of Argos parent GUS, said approximately half of the 2,500 new lines introduced are furniture and textiles. Additionally, customers responded keenly to price reductions, which in turn boosted sales.

Tyler said: 'I put (the sales increase) down to three things. We've increased the range of products to 11,400 this season with a focus on textiles and bedding within the new ranges.

'We've increased the value-for-money offer. Prices are 3 per cent lower comparing like-for-like with last year. The third thing is a concentration on the service in the stores.'

He said that delivery to homes increased by a third during the period.

This now accounts for 20 per cent of sales, up from 16 per cent in the same period last year.

The retailer said there are now 540,000 active Argos store cardholders compared to 460,000 at the end of March.

Argos expects to have 520 stores by the end of the financial year, which will increase to more than 550 next year.

Sales in Argos Retail Group's UK Home Shopping division fell 2 per cent, excluding businesses that have been divested.

Agency catalogue sales fell by 5 per cent in the half against the background of a struggling sector. However, sales from direct catalogues, including Abound, were described as 'strong' following this year's marketing.

As well as Argos, GUS controls information business Experian and a stake in fashion brand Burberry.