Home Retail Group feels the chill as Argos and Homebase sales slip

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That sent shares in Home Retail Group, which owns the two retail park perennials, plunging by nearly 10%, or 19.1p, to 176.4p.

Sales during the eight weeks to February 28, the last  two months of HRG’s financial year, were down 5% at Argos, while DIY chain Homebase saw a 0.9% fall in cash through its tills.

However, American chief executive John Walden, who took over exactly a year ago, played down the figures.

“They only cover two months, and less than 20% of our annual business,” he said, “so it’s hard to read trends. But it was a pretty soft period for the market over all.”

HRG still promised investors its pre-tax profits will be towards the top end of City expectations, or as high as £132 million.

Sales of electrical goods at Argos plunged (Picture: Home Retail Group)

The biggest dampener on the group’s sales was electrical goods at Argos.

Although the industry is pinning hopes on Apple’s new iWatch, Argos won’t be allowed to sell it.

“Apple’s distribution for the watch is very narrow, they’re trying to position it as a luxury item,” Walden said.

“But I’m not worried about it. The market is undeveloped for those kind of products,” the HRG boss added.

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/home-retail-group-feels-the-chill-as-argos-and-homebase-sales-slip-10104130.html

March 12, 2015 |
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