Argos sales remain under pressure

The owner of Argos insisted there were no plans for major store closures today despite another slump in sales at the catalogue chain.

The owner of Argos insisted there were no plans for major store closures today despite another slump in sales at the catalogue chain.

Argos, which currently has 748 stores, said like-for-like sales declined 8.5% in the eight weeks to February 25, driven by weak demand for TVs and a 35% slide in sales of video games as rivals slashed prices.

It opened one new store and closed 12 in the period as leases expired and said a further 35 leases would come up for renewal in the next year, but denied it had plans for widespread closures.

City analysts have questioned whether new Argos boss, the former BestBuy executive John Walden, will need to shrink the estate in order to safeguard profits.

However, the group said it will meet City profit hopes of £100m (€120m) for the year to February 25, despite a deterioration in sales at sister business Homebase. It suffered a 6.5% decline in like-for-like revenues, which was significantly worse than the previous period.

Home Retail admitted that profits are likely to fall in the next year as like-for-like sales continue to come under pressure.

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