Argos and Homebase operator Home Retail Group has posted a 3 per cent sales rise to £5.6bn for the 52 weeks to 1 March.
Its operating and distribution costs rose £13m to £1.9bn in the same period.
Reported profit before tax was £71.2m as the group ended the year with a cash balance of £331m. The group has invested into its Argos transformation plan and hired chief digital officer Bertrand Bodson last summer to improve its multi-channel offer and achieved 3.6m new Argos customer registrations for the period.
One in five (18 per cent) of Argos sales are now made through a smartphone, rather than its in-store printed catalogues. Total internet sales at Argos, which has 734 stores, inched up 1 per cent to 44 per cent in the last six months as it continued its investment into smartphone and tablet apps and trialled its new ‘hub & spoke‘ fulfilment model.
Its Homebase renewal plan continued and it announced a next –day delivery proposition, 12 store refits and achieved multi-channel sales growth of 28 per cent.
John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said: “The Group has delivered a good performance in what remained a challenging market. We also made good progress with our strategic plans in both businesses, which will become increasingly important in a competitive retail environment where shopping behaviours are changing rapidly.”
John Coombe, Chairman of Home Retail Group paid tribute to outgoing Chief Executive Terry Tuddy who has been with the business for 15 years.
“We wish Terry every success for the future. I would also like to welcome John Walden, who has been running Argos for the last two years, to the Board as our new Chief Executive,” he said