Home Retail is hit by slump at Argos

HOME Retail Group posted a bigger-than-expected drop in first-quarter sales at its Argos stores, hit by a drop in demand for video games and televisions.

The group, which also runs Homebase, said economic conditions were challenging and uncertain but that it was still aiming to deliver flat profits over the full financial year, in line with its previous guidance and helped by cost cutting.

Sales at Argos stores open at least a year dropped 8.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to 29 May.

Analysts had expected underlying sales to fall between three and five per cent.

Like-for-like sales at Homebase, Britain’s second-biggest home improvements chain, behind Kingfisher’s B&Q, fell 1.4 per cent – slightly less than analysts’ expected.

Chief executive Terry Duddy said: “Economic conditions remain both challenging and uncertain. For Homebase, this quarter represented a good outcome to its peak trading period.”