Homebase sales grow

Total sales at Homebase grew by 6.9 per cent to £203m in the eight weeks to March 1.

The 323-store group increased like-for-like sales by 9.3 per cent in the period.

Parent company Home Retail Group chief executive officer Terry Duddy said: "The positive sales performance in the last few weeks of our financial year concludes a good year for both Argos and Homebase, with both businesses having delivered like-for-like sales growth throughout the year.

"As a result of this recent trading performance, we now expect Group benchmark profit before tax to be slightly ahead of the top end of the current range of market expectations of £107m to £111m. The cash outflow for the year will also be slightly better than previous guidance, resulting in a closing net cash position of around £330m.

"We have made good progress with the investment plans in both businesses during the current financial year and we have a clear agenda for growth. However, although there are signs that economic conditions may be beginning to improve, we will continue to plan for a subdued consumer environment.

"It has been a very exciting time leading the Group over the last 15 years. Digital technology, together with changes in consumer behaviour, have fundamentally changed the face of retailing in recent times, and both Argos and Homebase have well defined plans and strong management teams in place to be leaders in both digital trends and changes in the way people shop."

Total sales at Argos grew by 5.2 per cent to £526m in the eight weeks.

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