Home Retail Group is the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer.
We own Argos and Homebase, two of the UK’s biggest retail brands. They’ve been shaping modern retailing for more than thirty years.
2009/2010 was tough in retail &ndash and we can’t predict how markets will evolve over the next couple of years.
But despite this we created value for our shareholders, colleagues and customers, beat most forecasts about our performance and have retained our competitive advantage.
Thanks to continuous investment we’re leading the way online and in store – and we’ve kept our retail formats well differentiated.
Here are some of the highlights of our year.
For the first time sales at a group level have exceeded £6 billion. But what does that mean in terms of growth and performance?
Well, it represents a rise of 2%, reflecting growth of 1.5% at Argos and 3.9% at Homebase.
Our market is worth approximately £58billion per year and we currently have around a 10% share. One of the ways that we have achieved this is through new store openings.
Across the UK and Ireland we’ve increased the number of our Argos and Homebase stores by 19 since last year. That brings the total number of stores to 1,094.
Over the course of the year we extended our market leadership position across the UK’s home and general merchandise market.
We believe that Argos and Homebase will be at the heart of our high streets and retail parks for years to come.
At Argos we experienced challenging conditions last year. Our markets declined – but our share of them grew.
The fact that 43% of our sales are now across more than one channel has made a major contribution, as did reservations for store collection using our ‘Check & Reserve’ service, which topped £1 billion.
Overall last year’s multi-channel sales amounted to £1.9 billion.
Argos promises customers the best deals and we spend a lot of time making that promise a reality for them.
The ‘Argos Value’ range now includes 350 products and there are over 500 ‘WOW’ deals covering leading own-brand products and an even broader range of categories. All this strengthens the Argos brand.
At Homebase we’ve been developing our multi-channel offer.
30,000 product lines were available on our website by the end of the year – in line with the target we’d set.
A ‘Stock Check’ service was rolled out to all UK stores and the ‘Stock Check & Reserve’ service was in place everywhere later in the year.
Together with other improvements in web content, these initiatives have resulted in a significant increase in website visits and in customer satisfaction ratings.
In this tough economic climate our customers are always looking for value – and we’re always looking for ways to provide it.
During the year we launched 300 products in the ‘Homebase Value’ brand covering everyday essentials across all categories – from white paint to wall tiles, and from door handles to coat hooks.
150 of these products are priced under £5.
By introducing a good quality, affordable range, we hope more people will be encouraged to transform their homes and gardens.
Home Retail Group is committed to being a responsible retailer. We call this ‘the basis of good business’.
For example, our packaging teams designed new packaging for over 2,000 own brand products, reducing the materials used by 1,340 tonnes.
In this and other corporate responsibility programmes we support our people with communications and training.
We’re meeting tough recycling targets and sent 32% less waste to landfill last year, with 78% of our waste now recycled.
Our plans play a part in this, but ultimately it’s the everyday actions of our people that are making the difference.
And given our responsible approach to the environment, you won’t be surprised to hear that all 2,128 boxes used in this film will be recycled too.
Looking ahead, Home Retail Group will continue to adapt to the changing economic environment.
Our strong financial position is allowing us to invest ahead of the recovery and, more specifically, the recovery in consumer demand. We remain confident in our ability to deliver sustained value for all our stakeholders.