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Home Retail Group reveals sales drop

Published: 15 January 2009
Home Retail Group - owner of Argos and Homebase - has announced falling profits at its two flagship chains.
Home Retail Group reveals sales drop
The grim sales figures, for the 18 weeks from 31 August 2008 to 3 January 2009, showed both chains' sales declined for the whole period.

Homebase performed worse of the two, unsurprisingly as it is much more reliant on the housing market, with like-for-like (lfl) sales dropping 10.2%.

However the firm said kitchen sales remained 'positive', but other big-ticket areas were amongst the weaker performing categories.

It also saw increased trade in energy-efficiency products, which continued to perform well.

Argos saw lfl sales fall 7.5% and the firm described furniture and homewares as the 'most challenging categories' for them recently.

However, the group also said internet sales increased to more than £500m or about 30% of total Argos sales.

The group's chief executive, Terry Duddy, said: "A turbulent trading environment, increased promotional activity and seasonal stock clearance resulted in additional pressure on gross margins.

"We expect the trading environment for the next financial year to be extremely challenging, but the group remains strongly positioned to extend its competitive advantage."

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