Home Retail Group (HRG), the owner of Argos, has said that the slowdown in consumer spending is now "more evident" in its latest trading update.
Argos saw like-for-like sales fall 0.2% in the 18 weeks to 5th January. The group said its more traditional gift areas of toys and jewellery, as well as furniture and homeware suffered during the period.
But to counter this, there was "exceptional performance" in the satellite navigation, video gaming, and mobile phone sectors.
HRG said that short-term sales growth would be harder to attain, although the firm added that full-year profits were set to be at the top end of forecasts.
Internet sales helped to boost sales, with orders increasing by a third over the period.