Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Home Retail Group Braced for Unhappy Christmas Sales

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Home Retail Group Braced for Unhappy Christmas Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON ENGLISH

HOME Retail Group is braced for the worst Christmas in years after revealing that trading in the past few weeks has been disastrous.

The Argos-to-Homebase group unveiled results for the last six months that were in line with City expectations, but came close to a profit warning as it prepared shareholders for the pain to come.

It also made a ?540 million goodwill write-off for Homebase stores, which retail analyst Nick Bubb of Pali International called "hugely embarrassing, but not that surprising either".

Sales across the group were flat at ?2.74 billion in the half-year to the end of August. Like-for-likes sales fell 3% at Argos and 10% at Homebase..

Profits sank 22% to ?106 million, but worse is likely to follow.

Chief executive Terry Duddy said trade has "worsened in the turbulent recent weeks" with sales in the "high single digits" since August.

Profits for the year will be at the bottom of City expectations, at ? …

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