Argos dents Home Retail

HOME Retail Group boss Terry Duddy yesterday unveiled a massive shake-up at its Argos chain with dozens of new ranges and the launch of a home shopping TV channel.

The chief executive admitted that a profit slump at the discount retailer had been triggered by a downturn in high street spending but that more could be done to breathe new life into the business.

He said that he would personally run the Argos business after the company announced that managing director Sara Weller would stand down in June due to ill health. Home Retail Group – which also includes Homebase – reported a 9.5 per cent drop in pre-tax profit to £265.2m in the year to 26 February. Argos saw like-for-like sales drop 5.6 per cent in the same period, while Homebase saw same-store sales decline 0.3 per cent.

“The consumer environment is tough and those hard stretched families who shop at Argos have been hit.”

He said that Argos would be offering children’s clothes ranges. And a Sky shopping channel complete with celebrity presenters will be launched in the summer to sell Argos goods.

Duddy dismissed speculation over the company being a potential takeover target.