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Homebase LFL sales down 4.9% for the year

Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer, announces details of the final eight-week trading period for the financial year ended 2 March 2013.

Terry Duddy, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, commented:

“This has been a good outcome to a challenging year with Group benchmark profit before tax now expected to be around £90m, and our net cash position increasing by approximately £200m to around £395m. Against a backdrop of subdued consumer spending for the new financial year, we will continue to invest and are focussed on delivery of the transformation plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader and the Homebase proposition.”

Total sales at Homebase declined by 2.8% to £191m. Net closed space reduced sales by 1.3%; one store closed in the period, reducing the store portfolio by five stores over the year to 336,a reduction that was in line with our plans.

Like-for-like sales declined by 1.5% in the period with an approximate 50 basis point gross
margin improvement.

Total sales at Argos grew by 4.3% to £501m. Net closed space reduced sales by 0.9%; two stores closed in the period, reducing the store portfolio by 11 stores over the year to 737, a reduction that was in line with our plans.

Like-for-like sales increased by 5.2% in the period. Consumer electronics continued to
deliver an improved sales performance driven by strong growth in tablets, which together with further growth in white goods and core electricals, more than offset weaker trading in

Total internet sales grew in the period, resulting in internet penetration increasing to 43% of Argos’ total sales, up from 40% a year ago. This growth was supported by the mobile commerce channel in which sales grew by 117% versus last year.

The approximate 75 basis point gross margin decline was principally driven by the sales mix impact from the improved performance in consumer electronics.

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Source : Home Retail Group

14 March 2013
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