Business World

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Argos chief John Walden could close stores in 'radical overhaul'

THE new chief executive of Argos, John Walden, has drafted in consultants to conduct a radical overhaul of the struggling retailer.

Mr Walden, who joined Argos nine weeks ago, has hired OC&C Strategy Consultants to help him turn the business around.

The root and branch review could close some of the company's 700 shops as well as revamp the remaining stores to make them more appealing to customers.

Analysts expect the number of Argos shops to be cut dramatically as the company struggles to compete with online retailers.

On Wednesday, Home Retail Group, Argos's parent company, will update the market with its full-year results, but is not expected to disclose details of the review.

The overhaul, which is already under way, is understood to be assessing which stores are profitable and whether sales can be substituted in other nearby stores or online.

Details of which stores face closure are not expected until at least October, however.

A potential stumbling block to closing stores could be that several are halfway through their leases and it would be too expensive to shut them down, even if they were not profitable, it is understood.

Argos was declared one of the weakest retail performers over Christmas. Like-for-like sales fell 8.8pc in the 18 weeks to December 31.

In the year to February 25, Argos closed 12 stores.

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