The group says like-for-like sales at Homebase, the do-it-yourself chain, lifted 3.8% to £465m in the 13 weeks to 30 May compared to the same period a year ago. It enjoyed a boost in sales for its gardening and outdoor products.
In contrast, like-for-like sales at its catalogue-based business, Argos, fell 2.8% during the same quarter, but remained ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Argos this year struck a deal with online retailer The Hut Group to launch an online entertainment shop in a bid to scoop up sales displaced by the collapse of high street entertainment retailers Woolworths and Zavvi.
Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy says: “At this early stage of the financial year we continue to plan cautiously, with our trading focus remaining on driving cash gross margin and achieving further cost efficiencies.”
In the last financial year the retail group saw its profits fall 24%, a direct result of consumers’ move to cut back on spending during the economic downturn.
The retail group has already said it plans to restructure its store portfolio following the collapse of rival furnishing chain MFI in November last year