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Home Retail Group DIY sales suffer during bad weather

Tuesday June 19 2012

Home Retail Group suffered an eight per cent fall in sales at Homebase after the wettest April in years.

Like-for-like sales at the DIY chain declined by 8.3% in the three months to June, driven down by seasonal products, which make up almost half of total sales and dropped by 15%.

The company said big ticket sales were also down in a market that continued to be challenging, while sales for the remaining categories were level.

Homebase pulled in total revenues of £421m, which benefitted from fewer promotions and helpful currency movements driving up margins.

Like-for-like sales were also down slightly at Argos, although new space and the sale of two shops helped push total sales into the black.

Revenues at Argos in the three months to June were £819m, down 0.2% on a like-for-like basis.

The firm said consumer electronics saw an improved performance with sales level on the previous year, driven by continued strong growth in laptops and tablets.

This offset sales declines in the TV, audio and video gaming categories for which it said the markets remained challenging.

Margins were also hit at Argos, dropping 0.25% due to adverse sales mix and ongoing price investment, Home Retail said.

"At this early stage of the financial year we are comfortable with current market expectations for full year benchmark profit," said Chief Executive Terry Duddy.

"We will continue to plan cautiously, managing robustly both the cost base and the cash position of the group while prioritising our investment in the ongoing development of our multi-channel capabilities," he said.