Argos has ended the year on an upbeat note with a 1.9 per cent increase in sales to £515 million for the final eight-week period of its financial year.
In a statement, Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, attributed this increase to the 94 digital concessions and collection points introduced over the past year. Sales in the eight weeks to February 27 were up 1.9 per cent to £515m, while for the full year, it pulled in £4.09 billion –a like-for-like decline over the previous year of 2.6 per cent.
Chief executive John Walden was positive about the figures: “This has been another rather eventful period for the group, during which we completed the sale of the Homebase business and both J Sainsbury plc and Steinhoff International Holdings announced possible offers for the acquisition of the remaining group.
“I am pleased with the continued improvement in Argos’s sales performance in the period, together with the continued progress in the Argos Transformation Plan to become a digital retail leader.
“In October, we introduced our FastTrack propositions for same-day home delivery and store collection. Since its introduction, customer awareness of FastTrack has continued to grow and its operations are improving, with both on-time delivery rates and customer satisfaction now at leading levels. Along with FastTrack, the combination of our now proven digital concession model, together with improvements in digital experiences, have driven increases in both digital sales and digital participation.”
In the final eight weeks of its financial year, sales of non-electrical goods grew, but electricals themselves declined, principally driven by video gaming, tablets and white goods, while mobile phones delivered good growth.
Argos increased its internet sales in the period by 13 per cent, which represented just over half (51 per cent) of total sales – up from 46 per cent for the same period last year. Of those, transactions on mobile devices were up by 15 per cent and accounted for 28 per cent of Argos’s sales (25 per cent last year).
Mr Walden added: “We expect that group benchmark profit before tax for the financial year ended February 27 will be in line with the current consensus of market expectations of £93m. We also expect that the group’s year-end cash balance will be significantly stronger than previously anticipated at around £625m.”