Argos sales fall as its customers feel the pinch

Argos store Sales have fallen at the Argos chain

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Sales at Argos have fallen sharply due to "particularly challenging conditions for its customers", owner Home Retail Group (HRG) has said.

HRG reported that like-for-like sales at Argos - which excludes new store openings - fell 6.5% in the six months to 28 August from a year earlier.

Sales at HRG's other main retail chain, DIY business Homebase, were down by 0.5% under the same measurement.

HRG's half-year pre-tax profits came to £103m, 12% less than last year.

It said in its statement that the results at Argos represented a "solid performance" given the difficult trading conditions, while Homebase had increased its market share.

Terry Duddy, HRG's chief executive, said the company's profits would have been lower were it not for continuing cost-cutting work.

He added: "We are about to enter our busiest trading period, and whilst we are planning cautiously, we do so from a position of operational and financial strength."

There are 750 Argos outlets across the UK and Republic of Ireland, and 350 Homebase branches.

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