Home Retail Group, which owns Argos and Homebase, says it cut operating and distribution costs by £39m in the first half.
In Argos operating and distribution costs were reduced by around five per cent or £25m, while in Homebase operating and distribution costs were down by around three per cent or £10m.
Multi-channel sales grew to 44 per cent of Argos’ sales in the first half of the year. The internet represented 32 per cent of Argos’ sales, up from 28 per cent in the comparable period. The fastest growing channel was online Check & Reserve, which expanded to represent 21 per cent of all sales.
For the delivery of larger items via the group’s two-man home delivery service, improvements to increase convenience include the trial of extended delivery times into the evening.
At Homebase internet sales, including the new Reserve & Collect service, grew by 40 per cent in the first half of the financial year and now accounts for 4 per cent of sales.
Total group sales were down three per cent to £2,720m and benchmark operating profit was down 23 per cent to £93m.