Argos, which makes 70 per cent of the group‘s turnover, saw sales at stores open over a year fall 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to August 29, better than a 3.9 per cent first quarter decline but worse than an average analyst forecast fall of 1.8 per cent.
Home Retail had already warned in April first half Argos sales would fall due to weak demand and falling prices in some categories as it works through revamps to the business. Today it said overall market conditions had been weak in August.
Second quarter underlying sales at Home Retail’s Homebase DIY business rose 5.9 per cent, the company said, against analyst expectations of a 4.1 per cent rise. Gross margin improved by 125 basis points at Argos, but fell by 75 basis points at Homebase.