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Argos will close/relocate 75 stores as focus turns to digital

Home Retail Group has announced that it will close or relocate 75 of its Argos stores over the next five years as it looks to reposition the retailer as a digitally-led business.

Chief executive Terry Duddy said: "The transformation plan aims to deliver growth by repositioning Argos as a digitally-led business from a catalogue-led business, leading the market growth of digital commerce through online, mobile and tablet, and offering customers more products with the fastest, most convenient fulfilment options.

"This plan provides the right approach for Argos to achieve a long-term sustainable performance and profit recovery."

Home Retail Group said it was looking to generate £4.5 billion of sales for Argos by 2018 and plans to invest £100 million a year in the business over the next three years.

The announcement regarding the potential store closures was made as the group reported that benchmark operating profit at Argos fell 3% to £3.3 million in the 26 weeks to 1 September. Like-for-like sales increased by 0.6% in the period.

Multi-channel sales at Argos rose to 51% of total sales while the Argos website received over 440 million site visits in the last 12 months. Mobile shopping represented 7% of total sales, contributing in excess of £100 million of sales in the period.

At group level, Home Retail Group reported that benchmark pre-tax profit fell 37% to £18 million in the six month period while sales slipped 1% to £2.5 billion.

Duddy added: "Market conditions remain fragile and hence we will continue to plan cautiously, however we are in good operational shape as we approach our peak trading period."

Source : Retail Bulletin
www.retailbulletin.com

24 October 2012
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