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Home Retail Group Q3 trading update

Jan '07
Home Retail Group, the UK's leading home and general merchandise retailer announces details on trading for the 14 weeks to 6 January 2007.

Terry Duddy, Chief Executive Officer of Home Retail Group, said:
"Our trading approach in the period reflected an expectation of the general merchandise market becoming more difficult. A less promotional stance, together with good operational control, proved successful in a market that showed little or no growth until just before Christmas. We expect profits for the full year at both Argos and Homebase to be around the top of analyst expectations. Looking forward, the retail environment is likely to remain challenging and we continue to position our businesses accordingly."

Argos grew its total sales by 4.3% in the quarter, of which new space contributed 4.1%. There were eight new stores opened in the period, bringing the total to 681.

There was good growth in electrical goods overall. This was driven by further strong sales of televisions and video game systems, partially offset by weaker performances in other electrical goods categories. Jewellery, which has a higher sales mix in the third quarter, continued to be weak.

Argos' multi-channel leadership continues to build. Total Internet sales grew 37% in the quarter and represented 19% of total sales. Of this, 11% of total sales were Internet reservations that were collected in store, with the remaining 8% being Internet orders for home delivery.

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