Home Retail boss John Walden has shrugged off Argos’s poor first-quarter as he aims to focus on fulfilment and pushing 4K TVs.
Speaking to the media following the retail group’s trading update today, John Walden said that poor weather in May and a tough comparable had hampered Argos’s sales. Like-for-likes at the electronics and homewares retailer fell 3.9% in the 13 weeks to the end of May.
Walden said sales of televisions were down year on year and revenues the prior year were boosted by the run-up to the World Cup.
However, he said the wider television market had dropped “dramatically” this year, but Home Retail had performed “better than the market by holding market share”.
Walden denied the retailer had lost out to rival Dixons Carphone on television sales. “I don’t think the explanation is that we have lost to Dixons, I think someone else has lost to the market,” he told reporters.
Confidence over second half
Looking ahead, Walden appeared confident for the second half of the year for Argos as new propositions such as 60-second fast-track collection and express delivery of large items are rolled out more widely.
Home Retail is working on a “transformation plan” for Argos, which includes focusing on upping its digital and fulfilment offer.
“The new propositions should help,” said Walden. “But we are dependent on customers becoming aware of them and an easing of headwinds.”
He added: “A couple of new technologies should start to pick up, such as 4K TVs and wearable technologies as we get to peak trading. We won’t have a seasonal challenge either because the back half is not as weather dependent.”
At Home Retail’s other business, Homebase, like-for-likes rose 5.4%, helped by sales rises across “big-ticket and seasonal” items. But Walden said that Homebase’s revenues had also been affected by May’s poor weather, particularly sales in its horticultural department.