Christmas period like-for-like sales up at Homebase and Argos


Like-for-like sales at Homebase were up 0.6% in the 18 weeks to January 3 2015, although the programme of store closures resulted in total sales declining by 2.7% to £451m.


Homebase increased like-for-like sales, although total sales at the retailer declined
Homebase increased like-for-like sales, although total sales at the retailer declined

In a trading statement released today, parent Home Retail Group (HRG) also reported that total sales at sister retailer Argos grew by 0.8% to £1,822m, although like-for-likes nudged up by just 0.1%.


Homebase saw growth in sales of seasonal products, principally as a result of the warm weather during the period. Big ticket sales performance was broadly flat, while sales in the remaining product categories were slightly down.


Strong sellers included storage boxes, white emulsion, fairy lights and tinsel.


HRG closed 12 Homebase stores over the period, resulting in a total of 19 closures year to date and leaving 304 stores. A further 25 stores will shut this financial year.


At Argos, the week of Black Friday - November 28 - was Argos' highest sales week of the period, while online sales during the 18 weeks represented almost half of total Argos sales at 49%, up from 46% in the same period last year.


HRG chief executive John Walden commented: "I am pleased with our overall performance during our important peak trading period, having managed through a volatile trading environment with good control of both gross margin and costs.


"This year's adoption of Black Friday promotional events generally by the UK market significantly impacted the shape of Argos' sales over its peak trading period. For example, on the day alone sales at Argos were up by 45%, while at the same time, it received over 13.5m visitors to its digital channels, three times last year's visitors, with mobile channels representing 71% of visits and 61% of digital sales."


Group pre-tax profit for the current financial year is expected to be in line with the current market consensus.


By DIY Week