After gaining furniture market leadership in 2006, Argos has consolidated its position as the UK’s number one furniture retailer.
The addition of stores to the Argos estate and the continued development of its multi-channel strategy have contributed to its success, says Verdict Research's UK Furniture & Floorcoverings Retailers 2007 report.
"The retailer has continued to push forward with a dedicated home catalogue, while the introduction of trial furniture showrooms in around 30 stores have combined to add 0.1 percentage points to its share, taking it to 6.3%," its lead analyst Nick Gladding said.
This, when added to stablemate Homebase's 1.4% share, gives parent Home Retail Group a furniture market share of 7.7%, some two percentage points ahead of nearest rival and number two in the sector Ikea at 5.7%.
The Swedish giant has added 0.3 percentage points to its share in 2007 with an store opening of one per year helping it become the number two player. It has moved ahead of DFS (5.5%), which was joint second with Ikea in 2006.
Former market leader, MFI has seen its share dip further in 2007 (4.8%). Although with plans to revitalise its supply chain and refresh its ranges, it will have solid foundations to launch a recovery in 2008, Verdict forecasts.
The market share data comes on the back of a prediction from Verdict that the UK furniture and floorcoverings market will grow in 2007 at its fastest pace for three years.
Continuing interest in the property market, and a high proportion of homeowners on fixed rate mortgages is a key reason why furniture retailers have not yet experienced a softening in demand, the report found.
The pick-up in market growth to 2.6% (from 2.2% in 2006) also reflects a higher rate of underlying price inflation driven by the increasing cost of manufacturing, Mr Gladding added.
However, Verdict says retailers will have to market their propositions differently to savvy consumers as their suspicions have been piqued following years of heavy discounting.