Home Retail, Britain's biggest household goods retailer, said sales at its main Argos business fell at a slower rate in its first quarter, while sales at its Homebase home improvement business were severely dented by wet weather.
Sales at Argos stores that have been open for over a year fell 0.2 per cent in the 13 weeks to June 2. That compares to a fall of 8.5 per cent in the previous quarter and exceeded analysts' expectations.
The firm said this morning that trading had been volatile over the period but it was currently comfortable with market expectations for full-year underlying pre-tax profit.
"We will continue to plan cautiously," said chief executive Terry Duddy.