It is part of the company’s plans to change Argos into a digitally-led retailer instead of being predominantly catalogue-led. It plans to move its stores onto shorter leases to make relocation easier.
Home Retail Group summarised the key challenges facing Argos, including: “The Argos offer is biased towards less affluent customer segments.” Following a six-month review of the Argos business, it has decided to invest in developing a bigger range with universal appeal and a stronger online presence. The announcement came with the release of six month results.
Pre-tax profits for the six months to the start of September came in at £51.1m, up 74% from the comparable period last year. However, that figure was flattered by a £35m gain from the retailer reducing its future liabilities by closing its final salary pension scheme. Without that gain, profits would have fallen 18%.
Chief executive Terry Duddy said: “Market conditions remain fragile and hence we will continue to plan cautiously, however we are in good operational shape as we approach our peak trading period.”
Argos has more than 700 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.