Argos and Homebase see sales rise
Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, has said its profits will be at the top end of forecasts after reporting higher Christmas sales.
Like-for-like sales at Argos were up 3.8% in the 18 weeks to 4 January, and climbed 4.7% at Homebase.
The retailer now expects to report full-year profits at the top end of the £90m-£109m range forecast by analysts.
The group also announced that John Walden, the current head of the Argos business, will become chief executive.
Current boss Terry Duddy announced last year that he would be stepping down.Internet sales growth
Mr Duddy said that both Argos and Homebase had delivered good trading performance "despite a challenging consumer environment", with internet sales at Argos particularly strong.
"In its peak trading period Argos has continued to grow internet sales, which now represent nearly half of total Argos sales," he said.
"This growth was supported by a strong performance in mobile commerce sales which represented 20% of total Argos sales in the period. This gives further reinforcement to our plan for Argos to become a digital retail leader."
Internet sales grew to represent 46% of total Argos sales, up from 42% for the same period last year.
Growth was helped by the popularity of the retailer's "Check & Reserve" service, Home Retail Group said.
Argos accounts for about 70% of the group's revenues. It reported strong demand for tablets, video games and televisions over the Christmas period.
At Homebase, where stores are being revamped, sales were boosted by demand for big-ticket items.