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Online growth bucks Argos’ overall sales dip

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Argos‘ online sales have grown strongly so far this financial year, but across the multichannel retailer total sales have fallen by 5.2%, according to figures released today.

The interim management statement for the first 13 weeks of the financial year, to May 29, issued by the retailer’s parent company Home Retail Group, showed that the internet represented 32% of Argos sales during this period, compared to 28% at the same time last year.

The Check and Reserve service was key to this growth, while the Argos iPhone app, launched in late May, and which allows check and reserve from a mobile phone, was downloaded 250,000 times in the first week.

But high street total sales were down by 5.2% to £889m while like-for-like sales fell by 8.1%. Video gaming and TV sales were down but there was growth in sales of personal computers, white goods and toys.

Terry Duddy, chief executive of the Home Retail Group, said: “Economic conditions remain both challenging and uncertain, with this quarter proving difficult in terms of consumers’ willingness to spend.

“The comparable period last year also contained some strong sales growth and share gains in certain product categories, particularly in consumer electronics at Argos.”

Elsewhere in the Home Retail Group, like-for-like sales at Homebase fell by 1.4% to £459m. The company also announced a share buy-back programme of up to £150m over the next 12 months.

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