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Argos and Homebase sales down, Morrisons sales higher

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by Kay Mitchell
”Argos

There is a mixed bag of retail sales figures today after Home Retail Group announced a drop in sales at both its Argos and Homebase chains.

The figures are further evidence of a cutback in consumer spending after electrical goods group, Dixons Retail, yesterday posted a fall in sales.

At Argos, like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 27 August fell 8.6% to £85 million on an annual basis, while Homebase saw a 3.1% drop in the period to £382 million.

Home Retail Group said weak demand for electronics led to the “the majority” of the drop at Argos.

However, group chief executive Terry Duddy comments: “Overall, the performance in the quarter was in line with our expectations.”

However, supermarket giant Morrisons has today posted a rise in half-year profits and was optimistic about its prospects for the remainder of the year.

The grocer, which is the UK’s fourth largest food retailer, said record customer numbers helped to boost sales.

Net profit for the six months to the end of July came in at £442 million – a rise of 7.3% on the £412 million in the same period a year ago.

Many High Street retailers continue to struggle as consumers’ cutback but food retailers have weathered the difficult trading conditions rather well.

Earlier this week, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported weak retail sales for August.

According to the BRC, like-for-like sales (which exclude the impact of sales at new stores) fell 0.6% last month on an annual basis.

Furthermore, this week accountancy firm BDO warned Britain’s retailers should prepare themselves for some tough times as pressure builds on consumers in the run-up to Christmas.

According to the firm’s High Street Sales Tracker, sales figures for August fell 2.2% among mid-market retailers, attributed to the riots and cooler weather during the month.

Several retailers are under severe financial strain as the face their quarterly rent deadline at the end of this month.

Earlier this year, the rent deadlines at the end of March and June resulted in a series of retailers entering administration including Focus DIY, Habitat, TJ Hughes and fashion chain Jane Norman.

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News posted: September 8, 2011

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