Feedback for shops that replace catalogues with tablets has been "encouraging"

Argos to open 25 more digital concept stores by March 2015

Argos will extend its digital store concept trial to open a further 25 stores by March 2015, in which the traditional shopping catalogues are replaced by tablets.

The retailer opened six digital concept stores during the Christmas period featuring new developments and technology, including online prepayment, fast track product collection and a voice-driven picking system with faster retrieval of customer orders. 

The stores also incorporate Argos’ ‘hub & spoke’ distribution model, where the retailer stocks larger ranges in each of around 120 ‘hub’ stores, and operates frequent replenishment routes between a ‘hub’ and its four-to-six ‘spoke’ stores. This means an extended range can be available to all Argos locations potentially within hours.

It recently opened another digital store in Manchester.

"Argos trialled six digital concept stores in the third quarter of FY14, which seek to define a new role for an Argos store in the future," the retailer said in a statement.

"Early customer feedback on the digital concept stores has been encouraging, and Argos plans to extend its trial of the concept to around an additional 25 stores in FY15."

The news comes as Argos publishes its financial report for its year ending March 1st 2014. It reported a 3 per cent increase in sales to £4 billion, with like-for-like sales up 3.3 per cent. Operating profit increased year-on-year from £100 million to £112.3 million.

The retailer was also buoyed by strong sales of tablets and electricals in latest financial report.

"Electrical products continued to deliver sales growth driven by growth in tablets, TVs and white goods, which together with strong sales of video game systems following the launch of new consoles, more than offset small declines in furniture, homewares and jewellery," added Argos in a statement.

John Walden, Chief Executive of Home Retail Group, commented: "The Group has delivered a good performance in what remained a challenging market. Both retail businesses [Homebase and Argos] recorded positive like-for-like sales for all four reporting periods, resulting in 27 per cent growth in Group benchmark profit before tax. 

"We also made good progress with our strategic plans in both businesses, which will become increasingly important in a competitive retail environment where shopping behaviours are changing rapidly."

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