Rain boosts Argos

Home Retail Group said wet weather increased first half sales at its Argos chain.
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The firm believes the wet UK summer played a big part in driving traffic in-store as customers sought out indoor entertainment.

Sales at Argos stores open at least a year rose 1.8 percent in the 13 weeks ended September 1st. At sister chain Homebase, sales fell eight percent on the same basis. Gross profit margins widened at both store chains, and the group forecast a “good first-half profit result.''

“The bad summer weather swung things around,'' analyst Nick Bubb at Pali International Ltd. said in a note. “It was probably a small net positive for Argos, but a big net negative for Homebase.''

Bubb raised his forecast for annual pretax profit to £410m from £390m.

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