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Christmas period like-for-like sales up at Homebase and Argos

Published: 15 January 2015
Like-for-like sales at Homebase were up 0.6% in the 18 weeks to January 3 2015, although the programme of store closures resulted in total sales declining by 2.7% to £451m.
Christmas period like-for-like sales up at Homebase and Argos
In a trading statement released today, parent Home Retail Group (HRG) also reported that total sales at sister retailer Argos grew by 0.8% to £1,822m, although like-for-likes nudged up by just 0.1%.

Homebase saw growth in sales of seasonal products, principally as a result of the warm weather during the period. Big ticket sales performance was broadly flat, while sales in the remaining product categories were slightly down.

Strong sellers included storage boxes, white emulsion, fairy lights and tinsel.

HRG closed 12 Homebase stores over the period, resulting in a total of 19 closures year to date and leaving 304 stores. A further 25 stores will shut this financial year.

At Argos, the week of Black Friday - November 28 - was Argos' highest sales week of the period, while online sales during the 18 weeks represented almost half of total Argos sales at 49%, up from 46% in the same period last year.

HRG chief executive John Walden commented: "I am pleased with our overall performance during our important peak trading period, having managed through a volatile trading environment with good control of both gross margin and costs.

"This year's adoption of Black Friday promotional events generally by the UK market significantly impacted the shape of Argos' sales over its peak trading period. For example, on the day alone sales at Argos were up by 45%, while at the same time, it received over 13.5m visitors to its digital channels, three times last year's visitors, with mobile channels representing 71% of visits and 61% of digital sales."

Group pre-tax profit for the current financial year is expected to be in line with the current market consensus.


15 January 2015 00:06:00
By Anon
Well thats so true to a point, big companies are just that - thinking of share holders and taking the public as fools with tricky dickie so called offers and fake sales, there are a few that thrive in big companies - namely at the management level, below that you are cannon fodder. Indis are great because they serve their local area, get to know their regular loyal customers and as my local iron monger cum garden centre does offer great service and the prices are now lower than the sheds. And a plus point is the local shop can get things in specific to a customer wheres the sheds cannot order in one off's if the company does not carry that line. The indi's don't bombard you with customer surveys, store cards, mobile top ups, insure etc - god you want to buy the goods and go, not have all that cr*p fired at you!
15 January 2015 00:05:00
By Indie
As an independent retailer what get me is that when we are recruiting we find the many people want the Kudos and Security of working for a big retailer like Homebase. The reality is very different. When will the public learn that big companies do not really care about their customers or shop floor staff?
15 January 2015 00:04:00
By Anon
Believe this or not but I used to think sales were the most important thing in a business, according to one manager at HB the company look at KPI instead as a measure of if a store is to carry on or not? Things like responses to customer surveys, the number of items each customer buys on average or store cards signed up per a week and so on. It seems to me that its yet another excuse to get rid of stores - even if sales targets are being met - it really stinks.

Why not sell it off right now and stop p**sing about with folks jobs and (laughable this) careers?
15 January 2015 00:03:00
By Mr. H.O' Mebase
Sales can be manipulated to look more positive than reality.. Hurd the Curse makes some good points. Once inflation is taken into account the picture worsens even more. Profit is the key measure but even this was carefully managed last year...HB shares a HQ with ARGOS and some central costs were excluded from the final figures. Will be interesting to see what they do this time. Profit excluding store closures and absorbing central overheads into a Group result is not really a true profit...? Buyer beware.
15 January 2015 00:02:00
By Doom
Some good results and no surprise, the knockers start! LFL sales up 0.6% with closure stores removed.
A business in transition , no one likes change especially if it affects them. Sad but needed.
If the business is to survive it has to close the stores, then address the price issue and start to invest . just cant do it all at once
15 January 2015 00:01:00
By Hurd the curse
It's amazing what people believe the facts are that sales at Homebase are down, moral is so low that people don't care anymore, the reason the figures look ok is that the close down figures that are high are added to the sales and this hides the sales slip in the other stores,Managers have been forced to cut all overtime and lose staff or go the selfs,to hit the profit target promised to the city,so they can get the backing for the future plan of setting the company up for sale, don't trust a word you are told it's going

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