Argos sales for the first quarter of 2015 were disappointing, with market declines leading to sales in electrical products falling.
Like-for-like sales at Argos declined 3.9 per cent to £846m over the 13 weeks to the end of May, with total sales falling 2.6 per cent on 2014, after "declines in key electrical and seasonal product categories".
Things were more positive at Home Retail Group, the home and general merchandise retailer which owns both Argos and Homebase, with stronger results at Homebase. Like-for-likes rose 5.4 per cent on 2014, although total sales were still down for the DIY retailer, falling 1.6 per cent to £438m in 2015.
Why it matters
The figures were mainly driven by market declines in TVs, computers and tablets, Argos said, although this was partially offset by growth in sales of mobile phones.
Online sales represented 44 per cent of Argos' sales, up from 42 per cent last year.
There has been a net increase in 33 stores over the year, taking its number to 788 – mainly consisting of 32 new digital concessions within Homebase.
What Argos said
John Walden, Home Retail's chief executive, said:
The performance at Argos in the quarter was broadly in line with both our expectations and previous guidance, with sales being adversely impacted by market declines in key electrical and seasonal product categories.
Homebase has made a good start to the year, successfully annualising a strong like-for-like sales performance last year.
We continue to expect that sales will be challenging during the first half at Argos, but we look forward to a stronger second half as we progress the Transformation Plan and introduce new propositions more broadly to the market.
Despite increases in stores and digital concessions, Home Retail Group will be looking at why the disappointing figures were principally triggered by its electrical and seasonal product categories.