Home Retail to scrap payout as profit falls 61pc
HOME RETAIL GROUP, the owner of Argos and Homebase, has scrapped its final dividend for the first time in six years after reporting a 61 per cent slump in full-year profit.
Chief executive Terry Duddy continued to defend his strategy for the group, saying there would not be “an en masse store closure programme” of Argos stores in the near future.
Sales at the catalogue chain fell eight per cent to £3.87bn as it continued to be hit by weak demand for consumer electronics which, excluding laptops and tablets, accounted for around 80 per cent of the sales decline.
Overall pre-tax profits fell to £98m in the year to 25 February compared with £265.2m the previous year on sales down five per cent to £5.58bn.
Homebase sales fell three per cent to £1.51bn.
Duddy confirmed OC&C Consultants had been hired as an “extra resource” to help Argos’ new chief executive John Walden conduct a review of the business.
However he denied that this would lead to more store closures, saying it “wouldn’t make any sense” financially, when all but seven of the catalogue chain’s 750 stores were profitable. Nearly 90 per cent of sales come through stores at some point.
The group plans to close 10 stores this year and will continue to review the 300 or so stores coming up for lease renewal over the next five years.