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Home Retail Q2 Argos Sales Rise But Homebase Sales Drop

Home Retail Group Plc (HOME.L,HMRLF.PK), Thursday said sales at Argos edged up in the second quarter, while sales at Homebase were hurt by poor weather conditions. The UK-based home and general merchandise retailer stated that it expects to deliver full-year Group benchmark profit in line with current market expectations but it depends upon trading at Argos in its peak Christmas period.

In the first half, total sales and like-for-like sales in Argos increased 0.6 percent, while Homebase total sales and like-for-like sales dropped 6.2 percent.

Terry Duddy, chief executive of the company said, "Argos has had a solid first half of the year supported by its multi-channel performance, while at Homebase seasonal product sales continued to be adversely impacted by the poor weather conditions."

Argos and Homebase are two of the UK's leading household goods brands.

In a trading statement covering the 13 weeks to September 1, Home Retail said total sales at Argos improved 1 percent to 867 million pounds, with like-for-like sales rising 1.4 percent. Net closed space reduced sales by 0.4 percent and seven stores were closed in the quarter, reducing store portfolio to 739.

Home Retail said its consumer electronics sales continued to improve on strong growth in tablets and e-readers. Meanwhile, sales declined in video gaming and audio categories and trading was weaker in seasonal products.

In Homebase business, total sales declined 3.9 percent to 366 million pounds. Like-for-like sales were down 3.7 percent, as big ticket sales dropped amid challenging market conditions. Further, seasonal products also continued to be impacted by the poor weather conditions. Sales for remaining categories were broadly flat.

Net closed space reduced Homebase sales by 0.2 percent and one store was closed in the quarter, reducing the store portfolio to 340.

The company is scheduled to announce its half-year results on October 24.

Home Retail shares are currently trading at 96.75 pence, down 2.67 percent, on a volume of 1.29 million shares on the LSE.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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