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Argos owner raises profit target due to strong sales

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Irish models Pippa OConnor (right) and Rosanna Davison unveiling the newly-designed Argos store in St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre a number of years back.

Irish models Pippa OConnor (right) and Rosanna Davison unveiling the newly-designed Argos store in St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre a number of years back.

Irish models Pippa OConnor (right) and Rosanna Davison unveiling the newly-designed Argos store in St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre a number of years back.

Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail has upped its profit forecast on the back of a strong performance in the last few weeks of its financial year.

The group now expects benchmark pre-tax profit to be slightly ahead of the top end of market expectations of between £107m (€128m) and £111m (€133m).

Shares in the company jumped more than 5pc yesterday on the trading statement.

Outgoing chief executive Terry Duddy said the positive sale performance in the last few weeks of the group's financial year concluded a good year for both Argos and Homebase.

He said that while the company has made good progress with investment plans for both businesses, it is continuing to plan for a "subdued consumer environment" despite some signs that economic conditions are improving.

Like-for-like sales at Argos in the eight weeks to March 1 rose 5.2pc to £526m. In the full financial year they were 3.3pc higher at £4.05bn. Sales were buoyed by strong demand for video gaming consoles, TVs, small domestic appliances and white goods.

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At Homebase, like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to March 1 were up 9.3pc at £203m, and 5.9pc higher at £1.48bn for the full-year period.

The group has also set aside an additional £25m to cover the expected cost of refunding customers due to a review by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority into the sale of payment protection insurance.

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