Furniture a main sector driver for Argos as sales for the 13 weeks from 28 February to 28 May 2016 grow, as the proposed Sainsbury’s transaction remains ‘on track’.

Argos owner, Home Retail Group reported a total sales rise of 2.6% to £868m, with like-for-like sales up by 0.1%. Internet sales grew 16% during the quarter, which is Argos’ strongest quarterly digital sales growth for over three years. 

Argos said its Fast Track same day delivery service continues to ‘build momentum’, while sales of non-electrical products was largely driven by furniture products.

Argos also revealed that it plans to put aside £30m to refund wrongly charged late fees to customers who took out store cards after its Group’s Financial Services division identified ‘excess fees’ had been charged erroneously.

John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, commented: “I am pleased with our performance in the first quarter. Argos delivered good total sales growth together with positive like-for-like growth, representing its strongest sales growth performance in eight quarters. 

“We remain on track to complete the proposed transaction with Sainsbury’s in the third quarter of this calendar year.  Given the natural distraction that a transaction such as this can be for our colleagues, on top of the recent sale of Homebase, I am particularly pleased with our performance in the quarter.”