General merchandise giant Argos generated a like-for-like sales rise of 2.7% over Christmas, and parent Home Retail Group has raised its full-year profit expectations.
Argos benefited from its multichannel business model during the 18 weeks to January 5 as shoppers purchased on, as well as bought, tablet devices.
In the year so far, m-commerce sales rocketed by 125% and internet revenues represented 42% of the total at Argos. “Customers took advantage of new tablet and smartphone apps and improved website functionality,” said Home Retail chief executive Terry Duddy. “Argos had a good peak trading period, building on its first-half performance.”
Total sales at Argos rose 1.6% to £1.74bn. Gross margin was down approximately 50 basis points as a result of the sales mix effect of an improved performance in consumer electronics and investment in competitive prices.
Duddy said that Home Retail’s full-year profits are likely to come in about £10m ahead of consensus, which was £73m before the update.
He said: “Whilst we anticipate consumer confidence will remain subdued in the coming year, we are focused on delivering the transformation plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader.”
Home Retail’s Homebase DIY business posted a 3.8% fall in like-for-likes over the period, attributed mainly to ongoing weak demand for big-ticket products.