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More than 30% of Argos’ sales online in first quarter

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Online sales accounted for a third of purchases at Argos in the first three months of the year, though “volatile” and “difficult” conditions were blamed for a near 10% fall in the multichannel retailer’s sales.

Argos’ parent company the Home Retail Group today said in an interim management statement penetration of internet sales rose slightly to 33% of its total revenues in the first quarter of its financial year, compared to the same time last year. Downloads of the Argos iPhone app reached 1.7m.

But at the same time, like-for-like sales at Argos fell by 9.6% in quarter, which ran to May 28. Total sales were down by 8.1% while margins reduced.

Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy said trading conditions were “more difficult and volatile than anticipated”.

He added: “For Argos, the consumer electronics market represents a substantial proportion of its sales and has experienced a further significant decline. The difficulty of this market, together with the volatility of overall sales, has made the balance of the year more difficult to predict.”

Sales at its sister company Homebase rose by 1.6% on a like-for-like basis, while total sales were down by 0.1%.

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