Argos rises amid sale talk

Argos and Homebase owner, Home Retail Group, declined to comment today on reports it is being eyed by private equity groups Blackstone and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
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Reporting its first set of stand-alone results since being demerged from GUS in October, Home Retail chief executive Terry Duddy said he was cautious on the outlook for consumer spending and expected a competitive Christmas on the High Street.

Sales for the six months to end September were up by 8 per cent to £2.82bn and operating profits rose by two per cent to £106.9m, excluding exceptional and demerger costs.

Reported operating profits were £90.5m. At the pre-tax level, profits were £66.2m excluding exceptionals

Duddy said the group had delivered a good performance in challenging trading conditions and strong growth was seen in consumer electronics, furniture and kitchens. Its internet operation continues to expand and now accounts for 15 per cent of total sales.

"While we remain cautious on the short-term outlook for UK consumer spending, we will continue to drive our businesses forward for long-term growth," he said.


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Argos sales slip

Home Retail Group reports sales decline since the beginning of 2010 of 9.4 per cent year-on-year.


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