ARGOS is to launch a “handful” of new “digital concept” stores next month that will see the retailer’s trademark printed catalogues replaced with tablets for the first time.
Argos owner Home Retail Group has already opened a trial store in Camden where the familiar laminated catalogues have been scrapped in favour of iPads for browsing and ordering.
However chief executive Terry Duddy said this will be the first time the company will start removing the 40 year-old catalogue on a wider scale. The group will eventually remove catalogues from all stores.
Earlier this year the group launched a five-year turnaround plan in a bid to reverse five consecutive years of profit declines and pledged to turn Argos into a “digital-led” retail chain.
The chain has since seen an improvement in trading, helped by its online drive, the increased use of mobiles to shop and a surge in spending on electronic goods such as tablets.
Reporting results for the first half yesterday, Home Retail Group said benchmark pre-tax profits rose 53 per cent to £27.4m, ahead of analyst expectations. However this was excluding a £12.6m exceptional charge to cover the restructuring costs at Argos.
At Homebase like-for-like sales rose 5.9 per cent in the six months to 31 August, helped by the hot summer weather, while Argos like-for-like sales rose 2.3 per cent.
As well as modernising stores, Argos has also launched new smartphone and tablet apps and agreed a click and collect trial with eBay. Smartphones and tablets now account for 16 per cent of Argos sales, while online accounts for 43 per cent of sales overall.