General merchandise retailer Argos has seen like-for-like (LFL) sales climb 2.1 per cent in its full year, the first time sales have grown in five years, figures released today reveal.
For the 52 weeks to March 2nd 2013, total sales rose 1.5 per cent to £3.93 billion while benchmark operating profit rose six per cent.
Argos also achieved market share gains over the period as its attempt to reposition itself as a leading digital retailer bore fruit.
Multichannel sales have increased during the year, now representing 51 per cent of total sales while total internet orders jumped 10 per cent to reach 42 per cent of total sales.
Online check & reserve remains the retailer’s fastest-growing channel, up 11 per cent on the same period last year to represent 31 per cent of Argos’ total sales.
Visits via apps and websites grew by 24 per cent year-on-year and mobile sales now account for 10 per cent of total sales as its digital offering continues to mature.
Commenting on the results, Home Retail Group (HRG) CEO Terry Duddy said: “This was an encouraging year with both businesses growing their market shares.
“Argos delivered LFL sales growth for the first time in five years and multi-channel sales broke through the 50 per cent threshold.
“Our strong financial position enables Argos to deliver on its transformation plan to become a digital retail leader, and for Homebase to invest in the rollout of its new proposition.”
Home & DIY retailer Homebase, which is also owned by HRG, reported a less successful year with LFLs down 4.9 per cent on a year earlier while total sales dropped 5.2 per cent over the period.
However, online sales buoyed results, up 16 per cent over the period, accounting for almost five per cent of total sales while its mobile site, launched in October last year, accounts for 16 per cent of total web visits.
Meanwhile, HRG’s sales were “broadly flat” in the full year while cash gross margin fell one per cent, though the group remains upbeat about its position in a tough market.
Duddy concluded: “Against a backdrop of subdued consumer spending, the Group has achieved a good outcome to what has been a challenging year.
“Both our businesses delivered market share growth, although their respective total markets declined further as customers continued to face pressure on their disposable incomes.”