Homebase and Argos both enjoyed good like-for-like sales growth in this year's first quarter, boosted by strong demand for seasonal lines.
Parent Home Retail Group (HRG) revealed in an interim management statement this morning that in the 13 weeks to May 31 Homebase achieved sales of £445m, putting on LFL growth of 7.9% and total sales growth of 5.5%, despite reducing sales space by 2.4%. Argos sales rose to £868m, up 4.9% LFL and 4.8% overall.
At Homebase, seasonal products represented around 40% of total sales in the quarter, which benefited from better weather conditions than in the same period last year. There was also growth in sales of big ticket products, although sales in other categories were slightly lower.
Argos also saw a strong performance in seasonal products together with continued sales growth in electrical products, principally video gaming and televisions. This combined growth more than offset small declines in the homewares and furniture.
Internet sales at Argos now represent 42% of its total sales. Within this, mobile commerce grew by 56% and now achieves 21% of Argos sales.
HRG chief executive John Walden commented: "We are pleased with this encouraging start to the year, but remain mindful that we will annualise more challenging comparators in both businesses through the remainder of the year, including Homebase's very strong seasonal performance in the second quarter of last year.
"At this early stage of the financial year, we expect to deliver full-year group benchmark profit in line with current market expectations."