Argos tablet sales decline yet again as Black Friday 'threatened profit'

But retailer posts strong sales of TVs, video games and mobiles
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Argos has revealed it suffered another dip in tablet sales during the 18 weeks from August 31st 2014 to January 3rd 2015.

The retailer did post growth in sales of electrical products as a whole, however. This was "principally as a result of strong sales performances in video gaming, TVs and mobiles, partially offset by a market driven decline in tablets", Argos said in a statement.

The news comes after the retailer saw tablet sales fall two other times earlier last year - an announcement in June and one in September.

The week of Black Friday 2014 in November was Argos' highest sales week of the period, with sales being 'particularly volatile' in the weeks surrounding the promotional event.

But Argos said Black Friday 'threatened profit' due to its volatile nature. 

"Whilst experiencing strong trade on 'Black Friday', Argos adapted its trading stance both during this event and during the period in general, in order to protect both its gross margin and its cost base, as the highly promotional and high volume nature of this event threatened profit in this key period," it said in a statement.

"Internet sales for the period represented almost half of total Argos sales at 49 per cent, up from 46 per cent for the same period last year. Within this, mobile commerce sales grew by 40 per cent to represent 28 per cent of total Argos sales, up from 20 per cent in the prior year. Sales via Check & Reserve represented 80 per cent of internet sales in the period."

John Walden, Chief Executive of Argos parent Home Retail Group, commented: "I am pleased with our overall performance during our important peak trading period, having managed through a volatile trading environment with good control of both gross margin and costs.

"This year's adoption of 'Black Friday' promotional events generally by the UK market significantly impacted the shape of Argos' sales over its peak trading period. For example, on the day alone sales at Argos were up by 45 per cent, while at the same time, it received over 13.5 million visitors to its digital channels, three times last year's visitors, with mobile channels representing 71 per cent of visits and 61 per cent of digital sales.

"In anticipation of volatility in trading patterns and the profit pressure caused by aggressive promotions, Argos pursued a more cautious trading stance over the period."

Total sales during the period grew by 0.8 per cent to £1.8 billion, while like-for-like sales rose by 0.1 per cent.

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