Weak demand hits Argos

​​Home Retail, Britain’s biggest household goods retailer, said sales at its Argos business fell again in its second quarter, as weak demand for electricals such as TVs and tablets persisted.

Argos has been hit by weak demand

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 Aug​ust​ 29, better than a 3.9 per​ ​cent first quarter decline but worse than an average analyst forecast fall of 1.8 per​ ​cent.

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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.