Argos ponders store closures as profits fall

The retailer will consider the future of some 230 stores as operating profits plunge 57 per cent.
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Some 230 Argos stores could be up for closure over the next five years as the retailer saw its operating profits fall 57 per cent to £94.2 million in the financial year 2011. Sales were down nine per cent.

The decline in demand for consumer electronics, such as televisions and video games, was once again responsible for the poor performance - despite an increase in demand for laptop and tablet computers.

In its end of year financial statement, Argos owner the Home Retail Group said it would now consider the future of 230 of the chain's stores as their leases come up for renewal in the coming five years.

Argos chief Terry Duddy has previously said the retailer would not look to close any of its 748 stores while leases were still in play. Argos has plans to close ten of its stores this financial year.

As part of an extensive refurbishment programme, Argos renovated 200 of its stores in FY2011, and will continue with plans to refurbish a further 350 shops this year.

Argos grew its mutli-channel sales 48 per cent and now claims to be the UK's second biggest internet retailer, with over 430 million site visits.

Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group, added: "In a particularly difficult trading environment, we have managed our costs and cash effectively. While we remain cautious about the consumer outlook over the short term, we are well positioned operationally and we will continue to prioritise investment in our leading multi-channel capabilities to shape the future of shopping for our customers."

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