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Home Retail Group, the UK's leading home and general merchandise retailer, today announces its results for the 26 weeks to 1 September 2012 and also outlines its transformation plan for Argos following the completion of a comprehensive business review.
Terry Duddy, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, said:
"Against a challenging consumer backdrop, Argos has had a solid first half of the year supported by its multi-channel performance, with sales growth driven most notably by an improvement in consumer electronics. Homebase delivered a creditable performance in its peak trading period, given the adverse impact of poor weather conditions on its seasonal product sales and the difficult market conditions in big ticket categories.
"During the first half of the year we took additional action to control costs, tightly managed our working capital and delivered a strong cash performance which has strengthened the Group's financial position. Market conditions remain fragile and hence we will continue to plan cautiously, however we are in good operational shape as we approach our peak trading period.
"We continue to strengthen our customer propositions in an environment where customer shopping behaviours are changing rapidly, with both businesses improving product choice and delivering further value for our customers.
"We have also concluded a comprehensive business review of Argos which highlighted a clear opportunity to transform the business through increased investment in digital technologies. The transformation plan aims to deliver growth by repositioning Argos as a digitally-led business from a catalogue-led business, leading the market growth of digital commerce through online, mobile and tablet, and offering customers more products with the fastest, most convenient fulfilment options. This plan provides the right approach for Argos to achieve a long-term sustainable performance and profit recovery."
1. Benchmark operating profit is defined as operating profit before amortisation of acquisition intangibles, store impairment and onerous lease charges or releases and exceptional items.
2. Benchmark profit before tax (benchmark PBT) is defined as profit before amortisation of acquisition intangibles, store impairment and onerous lease charges or releases, exceptional items, financing fair value remeasurements, financing impact on retirement benefit obligations, the discount unwind on non-benchmark items and taxation.
3. Basic benchmark earnings per share (benchmark EPS) is defined as benchmark PBT less taxation attributable to benchmark PBT, divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue (excluding shares held in Home Retail Group's share trusts net of vested but unexercised share awards).
There will be a presentation today at 9.30am to analysts and investors at King Edward Hall, Merrill Lynch Financial Centre, 2 King Edward Street, London EC1A 1HQ. The presentation can be viewed live on the Home Retail Group website www.homeretailgroup.com. The supporting slides and an indexed replay will also be available on the website later in the day.
An Interim Management Statement, covering the 18 weeks from 2 September 2012 to 5 January 2013, will be announced by Home Retail Group on Thursday 17 January 2013.
Certain statements made in this announcement are forward looking statements. Such statements are based on current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from any expected future events or results referred to in these forward looking statements.
To view the announcement in PDF, click here.
To listen to the conference call, click here.
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