Britain's biggest household goods retailer Home Retail delivered a weaker-than-expected finish to its financial year at both its Argos and Homebase chains, although it said cost controls and improvements to its margin had helped the bottom line.
The group said it expected pretax profit for the year to be at the top end of market forecasts of £120m to £132m.
Analysts on average expected £123m, according to Reuters data.
The company said like-for-like sales at its bigger Argos chain fell 5pc in the eight weeks to end-February, falling far short of forecasts of a 0.2pc fall, reflecting poor demand for consumer electronic products.
Sales at its Homebase DIY chain on the same measure also disappointed, dropping by 0.9pc against predictions for a rise of 0.4pc.