Argos suffered a 4.8% drop in like-for-like sales in the 52 weeks to February 28, although parent Home Retail Group says it is confident of the company’s continued longer term success.
HRG saw total sales dip 1% to £5.9bn from £6.0bn the previous year, and reported a pre-tax loss of £394.2m compared to the previous year’s £432.9m profit.
Benchmark operating profit fell by 25% to £300m, from £398m: Argos suffered a 19% decline, down £73m, while at Homebase it slumped by 67%, down £30m. Like-for-likes at Homebase fell 10.2%.
HRG said that furniture and homewares had been especially hard hit at Argos. The internet now accounts for more than a quarter of the brand’s sales.
Commenting on the results, chairman Oliver Stocken said: “This has been a challenging year for the UK retail industry. While profit performance in the short term cannot be immune from the economic backdrop, the group’s underlying strengths will secure our continued longer term success.
“Delivering another year of net cash generation has been an excellent result and ensures we are well placed for the future.”