Home Retail Group to remain cautious despite like-for-like sales

Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, says it remains cautious about consumer spending despite reporting improved first-quarter like-for-like sales.

In the 13 weeks to June 2, the company saw like-for-like sales increase by 2.7% at Homebase, the DIY retailer, to £463m. The retailer says the good weather in March and April attributed to the increase before dropping off significantly in May.

At Argos, it reported a 0.9% increase in like-for-like sales to £893m, driven by strong growth in flat panel TVs and video games systems.

Terry Duddy, Home Retail chief executive, says: “Gains in gross margin were achieved in the quarter, with both businesses benefiting from group sourcing. We remain cautious given the uncertain consumer outlook and our expectations for the full year are unchanged at this early stage.”

The company has recently opened three new Argos stores taking the number of outlets to 682.

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