Argos suffered another big sales decline in its second quarter, but the retailer is confident that consumers will spend this Christmas.

The catalogue store group posted an 8.6% slide in like-for-likes in the period – an improvement on the 9.6% fall in the first quarter – and total revenues were down 7.1%.

Terry Duddy, chief executive of parent company Home Retail, said the performance was as expected and that Argos had been hit by a weak consumer electronics market, despite doing well in important product areas such as TVs and audio.

He was optimistic about Christmas prospects and said: “I think people will get out there and spend, as they have in previous years.”

Like-for-like sales at Home Retail’s Homebase business fell 3.1% in the period, having risen 1.6% in the first. Total sales were down 3.8% as shoppers shunned big-ticket categories.

In the first half, Argos total sales fell 7.6% to £1.68bn and at Homebase they were down 1.8% to £840m.

Duddy said: “Whilst continuing to plan cautiously, we are in good operational shape as we approach the Christmas trading period.  We continue to develop and invest in our customer proposition across the businesses.”