Sales click into place at Argos [Newcastle Journal (England)]
(Newcastle Journal (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE digital makeover of catalogue chain Argos showed early signs of progress after strong trading figures for the peak Christmas period.
Its owner Home Retail Group said internet sales now accounted for 42% of all Argos business as more shoppers took advantage of the chain's new tablet and smartphone apps, as well as click and collect services.
Argos sales rose 2.7% on a like-for-like basis in the 18 weeks to January 5, meaning Home Retail's profits for the year to March will be Pounds 10m ahead of current City forecasts of Pounds 73m.
The Argos business, which sells products in 739 shops as well as online and through a TV channel, took a total of Pounds 1.74bn over the 18-week period, a rise of 1.6% when store closures are accounted for.
Home Retail announced plans in October to scale back circulation of its catalogue and revitalise the business through its digital presence.
Stores will be kitted out with internet access and Wi-Fi, with a fast-track collection service and customer service for orders.
Home Retail hopes to grow Argos sales from Pounds 3.9bn to Pounds 4.5bn a year in 2018 in an "ambitious but achievable" overhaul that comes after a period of declining sales.
Home Retail's Homebase division saw total sales decline by 4.5% to Pounds 453 million.
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