Buoyant sales of outdoor products resulted in unexpectedly good results for Homebase in the first quarter.
In a statement covering the 13 weeks from March 1 to May 30, Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy said: “Argos and Homebase each enjoyed better than expected sales in the quarter and grew market share.
“Homebase in particular saw its performance in gardening and outdoor products benefit from the excellent weather conditions.”
Total sales at Homebase grew by 5.8% to £465m, with like-for-like sales up 3.8%. Three new stores opened in the quarter, taking the portfolio to 348.
Seasonally-related categories accounted for around 40% of Homebase’s first quarter sales and saw low double-digit growth, while kitchen sales continued to be strong.
Total sales at Argos grew by 0.9% to £937m, although like-for-likes declined by 2.8%. Five new stores took the total to 735. The company said the homewares markets “continued to be challenging”.
Multi-channel sales accounted for 42% of total Argos sales.
Duddy said that the trading focus would remain “on driving cash gross margin and achieving further cost efficiencies”.