Argos n ine elms

Catalogue retailer Argos delivered strong growth in Q3 with online driving sales, as Sainsbury’s report flat third quarter.

According to Sainsbury’s Q3 trading update for the 15 weeks to 7 January 2017, the supermarket chain saw total retails up by 0.8%, with like-for-like sales up by 0.1%, as both volumes on a total and like-for-like basis remained flat.

Argos, however, continued its quarterly growth as total sales rose by 4.1% with like-for-like sales up by 4%, following its increase of 3%, on a total basis, and 2.3%, on a like-for-like basis, in Q2.

Argos’ new owner, Sainsbury’s, said that technology categories led the way and that online sales thrived due to strong Black Friday period, with 65% of orders taken online, as total sales rose by 13% - accounting for 57% of total Argos sales.

The presence of Argos within Sainsbury’s stores continued to gather pace, doubling its concession numbers to 30 overall. Total Argos stand-alone stores at the end of the quarter stood at 723, down by two, whilst also pushing its exit out of Homebase stores, which saw a reduction of 12 to 83.

Combined Sainsbury’s and Argos like-for-like sales reported a growth of 1%, with the group stating: “We had a record Christmas week, with over 30 million customer transactions at Sainsbury’s and over £1bn of sales across the Group.

“At Argos we delivered strong growth in the quarter, driven by the key Black Friday and Christmas trading periods. Our Argos digital stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets are performing well, as awareness of the convenience of shopping at both Sainsbury’s and Argos under one roof grows among our customers.

“The market remains very competitive and the impact of the devaluation of sterling remains uncertain. However, we are well placed to navigate the external environment and remain focused on delivering our strategy.”

Sainsbury’s completed the acquisition of Home Retail Group on 2 September 2016 after securing the deal with a £1.4bn bid back in March.