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Argos and N Brown Group up proportion of sales made online

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Almost half of sales at home shopping company N Brown Group now take place online, while at Argos the figure is now well over a third.

N Brown Group, owner of Figleaves, said in a trading statement published this week that 47% of its total group sales now came from the internet, where it had seen growth of 26% over the 19 weeks to January 8. The company also sells via mail order, through catalogues.

At Argos, the share of sales made online rose to 38% in the 18 weeks to January 1, according to an interim management statement from its parent company, Home Retail Group, out this week.

Across the N Brown Group, revenue rose by 4.6% in the period. Like-for-like turnover rose by 1.2%, with trading strongest from October to mid-December before being set back by extreme weather conditions. Poor weather, said the company, “eventually affected customers who were concerned whether their Christmas orders would be delivered on time”.

“The board is confident we can deliver performance in line with our expectations for the year to February 2011,” said the statement.

But at Argos, like-for-like sales fell by 4.9% in the period, with video gaming and television sales particularly weak. Of total sales of £1.8bn, £700m came through the internet, with online reservations accounting for three-quarters of sales. The Argos mobile phone app for Apple devices has now been downloaded 1.2m times and was used to place almost a million reservations.

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