Home Retail Group attempted to put a shine on some fairly grim – if expected – figures yesterday by claiming its Argos iPhone app had been a storming success.
However, the truth is that sales at its cut price chain dropped by six per cent.
This is made all the more worrying by the fact that cash-strapped customers usually trade down and surely no-frills Argos should be benefiting from that.
Nevertheless Home Retail has a relatively strong balance sheet with cash forecast at over £300m projected at March 2011, and strong cashflow, which some analysts believe should enable further share buybacks and could also be attractive to a private equity buyer.
Both Investec and Seymour Pierce view the stock as a hold because of the long term value in the company – a position which seems sensible amid the economic tumult.