Homebase sales down 4.5 per cent over past three months

Homebase owner Home Retail Group said sales at Homebase fell 4.5 per cent to £453m in the last three months.

HRG's interim management statement said Homebase net closed space reduced sales by 0.6 per cent. Three stores closed in the period from 2 September 2012 to 5 January 2013 reducing the store portfolio to 337.

HRG chief executive Terry Duddy said: "The market has been difficult for Homebase over this period, but I’m afraid there's only a certain amount of money in the economy,"

Meanwhile sales at Argos grew 1.6 per cent to £1.744bn.

Dudley said: "Argos had a good peak trading period building on its first half performance. Internet sales for the year to date now represent 42 per cent of Argos' total sales, within which mobile commerce sales grew by 125 per cent as our customers took advantage of new tablet and smartphone apps and improved website functionality.

"As a result of good operational management and cash generation over the peak trading period, we now expect Group benchmark profit before tax for this financial year to be about £10m ahead of the current market consensus of £73m and the year end cash balance to be in excess of £300m.

"Whilst we anticipate consumer confidence will remain subdued in the coming year, we are focussed on delivering the transformation plan to reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader and the ongoing development of the Homebase proposition."

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