Argos owner lifts forecasts

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Home Retail Group jumped 14 per cent yesterday after the group raised its full-year profit forecasts and announced third quarter sales showed signs that efforts to turn Argos into a digital-led retailer were paying off.

Chief executive Terry Duddy said he now expects full-year group profit before tax to be about £10m ahead of the current market consensus of £73m.

Booming tablets sales helped drive like-for-like sales at Argos up by 2.7 per cent in the 18 weeks to 5 January. Total sales at Argos grew by 1.6 per cent to £1.7bn.

However, Homebase fared worse-than-expected by analysts, with like-for-like sales at the DIY group falling 3.9 per cent in the period.