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Almost half of Argos sales now online, with strongest quarterly digital sales rise for three years

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Almost half of Argos sales now online, with strongest quarterly digital sales rise for three years
Almost half of Argos sales now online, with strongest quarterly digital sales rise for three years
Almost half of Argos sales now take place over the internet, the retailer's parent company said today, as it unveiled its strongest quarterly digital sales growth for more than three years.

The Home Retail Group said online sales grew by 16% during its first quarter, and accounted for 49% of sales over that period. That's up from 44% a year earlier. Mobile commerce sales were the larger part of those online sales, accounting for 29% of total Argos sales. Argos, an Elite trader in IRUK Top500 research, is currently three and a half years into a transformation plan, launched in October 2012, to make it a digital-first retailer.

Today's rise comes ahead of the planned sale of the general merchandise retailer to Sainsbury's . This, said John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, was on track to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Walden said he was pleased with first quarter trading, in a "challenging" and deflationary retail environment.

"Many of the digital capabilities we are building, as we pursue the transformation plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader, are positively impacting our business. Internet sales grew 16% during the quarter, which is our strongest quarterly digital sales growth for over three years.

"Digital sales accounted for almost 50% of total Argos sales in the quarter, including mobile commerce which now represents almost 30% of sales. Argos' customer experiences overall improved in the quarter, aided by Fast Track, a market-leading national proposition for both same-day home delivery and store collection. Fast Track continues to build momentum and is achieving leading levels of customer satisfaction."

The update came as Home Retail Group said Argos sales came in at £868m in the 13 weeks to May 28, 2.6% up compared to the same period last year. Growth came following a number of new store openings during the previous full-year – net space increased by 2.5%. During the quarter itself, two digital concessions were closed within Homebase stores, the DIY group that Home Retail Group has now sold. Sales reported on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures, were up by 0.1%.

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