Currys and Argos owners see sales fall

Sales at two major retail chains have fallen despite record number of shoppers during the post-Christmas sales season. DSG International, which owns Currys and PC World, and Home Retail Group, which owns Argos and Homebase, both reported falls in sales for the three months to January 10.

DSG has reported a 10% fall in like-for-like in sales for the three months to January 10, despite a 2% increase after New Year.

John Browett, DSG chief executive, says: “The sales pattern through the period was as we anticipated with customers waiting for the post-Christmas sales to purchase discretionary products, particularly televisions and laptops.”

He adds: “We expect 2009 to be challenging across most of our markets and are actively planning and managing the business.”

DSG adds it is planning further cost reductions of £20m because of the trading environment, bringing total savings for the current financial year to £95m, however the company is unable to say how this would be achieved.

Meanwhile, Home Retail Group said like-for-like sales at its Argos chain had fallen by 7.5% and DIY chain Homebase saw its like-for-like sales in the same period drop by 10.2%.

Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy says: “Our markets continue to be significantly impacted by the sharp reduction in consumer spending. As previously indicated, we expect the trading environment for the next financial year to be extremely challenging.”

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