Unseasonal summer start impacts outdoor furniture at Argos

Supermarket group Sainsbury’s, owners of furniture brand Habitat and catalogue retailer Argos, has reported an uptick in Q1 sales.

According to its first quarter trading statement for the 16 weeks to 22 June 2024, total group sales were up 3%, driven by growth within its core supermarket arm.

As for General Merchandise sales, these were down 4.3% in the period, while Argos sales also fell 6.2%.

On Argos, the group said: “We are making progress with our More Argos, more often strategy outlined in February, both in transforming the business and reshaping our core commercial and digital proposition. Despite a tough trading backdrop, we are enhancing our digital offer and improving our range, particularly expanding to more popular premium brands

“Argos sales declined against a tough comparative, reflecting an unseasonal start to Summer, impacting seasonal categories like House and Garden and Outdoor Furniture. Weaker Consumer Electronics sales were driven by softer demand, particularly in Gaming.”

The group continues to expect FY24/25 Retail underlying operating profit of between £1,010 million and £1,060 million, a growth of between 5% and 10% versus FY23/24.

Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of J Sainsbury plc, added: “We are pleased with our market-beating grocery performance and the early progress we’re making against our Next Level Sainsbury’s plan. We’ve been winning from competitors every month for 15 months, as more and more people are choosing Sainsbury’s for their big weekly shop.

“We are laser focused on delivering the best combination of value and quality in the market and our customers are recognising that with 98% of big baskets including Nectar Prices or Aldi Price Match. Innovation continues to be a top priority and we launched 400 new products this quarter, almost half of which were Taste the Difference, which continues to outperform a strong premium market. Our Summer ranges are the perfect complement to this Summer of Sport and we’re gearing up for Wimbledon this week and England’s quarter final match on Saturday night.

“Our food business is going from strength to strength and I would like to thank all of my colleagues and our suppliers and farmers for the brilliant job they are doing every day to deliver for all our customers.”

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