The retailer’s strong sales performance indicates that the distraction of the Sainsbury’s takeover has not damaged trade.
Argos’ total sales rose 2.6% to £868m in the 13 weeks to 28th May, its fiscal first quarter, with sales at stores open over a year up 0.1%. Gross margin did, however, fall one percentage point.
Chief executive, John Walden, commented: “Argos delivered good total sales growth together with positive like-for-like growth, representing its strongest sales growth performance in eight quarters. Given the natural distraction that a transaction such as this can be for our colleagues, I am particularly pleased with our performance in the quarter.” He also noted that the outcome was achieved against the challenging backdrop of constrained seasonal product sales due to poor weather, on top of a deflationary pricing environment.
Home Retail agreed a £1.4bn takeover deal with Sainsbury’s in April. The transaction is currently being considered by the competition regulator, which said last month it would decide by 25th July whether to launch a full investigation. John Walden said Home Retail was on track to complete the deal in the third quarter of 2016.
Shares in Home Retail, up 62% so far this year, closed Wednesday at 161 pence.