News in brief: Mobile investment paying off for Argos

Investment in new smartphone and tablet apps has helped multichannel retailer Argos grow its mobile sales by 124% year on year in the 26 weeks to 31 August 2013.

A statement from Argos parent company Home Retail Group indicated that 43% of Argos's sales were online in the first half of the financial year, with mobile commerce – orders made through a phone or tablet device – accounting for 16% of total sales. However, the company also said that around 90% of all sales still involve the store in some way.

Meanwhile, new delivery options launched by Argos's sister company Homebase, including next- and named-day services, have helped boost the DIY retailer's multichannel business, too.

Home Retail Group CEO Terry Duddy said: "Both Argos and Homebase are making good progress with their investment plans, and remain on track to deliver their long-term strategic objectives.

"The Argos transformation is well underway, including the introduction of new smartphone and tablet apps, the extension of the hub & spoke' trial, the launch of a digital Christmas gift guide and the development of digital concept stores.

"Homebase has completed five store refits, and plans to complete around ten further refits in the current financial year. These refitted stores are performing in line with our expectations. In addition, the introduction of improved delivery options has supported multichannel sales participation, which grew by 28%."

Group sales were up 3% to £2.6 billion, with like-for-like sales up 2.3% at Argos and 5.9% at Homebase.

You can read a more detailed analysis of the Home Retail Group business in Essential Retail later this week.

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