Home Retail Group boosted by kitchens

HOMEBASE and Argos owner Home Retail Group said yesterday it would match the previous year&rsquo;s interim underlying profits, as sales of televisions and kitchens held up through the slump.<br /><br />Benchmark profit before tax will be &ldquo;broadly in line&rdquo; with last year&rsquo;s &pound;121m, it said.<br /><br />The group said customers were staying at home in the recession, and spending spare cash on improving their houses.<br /><br />Like-for-like sales at Homebase rose 2.8 per cent for the first half to the end of August, with kitchen spending boosting revenues.<br /><br />But sales at Argos dropped slightly by 2.1 per cent, just wide of the previous quarter&rsquo;s 1.4 per cent drop.<br /><br />Home Retail Group will &ldquo;continue to plan cautiously for consumer demand&rdquo; ahead of Christmas, chief executive Terry Duddy said.<br /><br />He added that currency movements would impact the group more profoundly in the second half.