Argos prepares for pounds 1bn spending spree
Tuesday 18 March 1997
Mike Smith, chief executive, said he had a list of targets in the toys, electricals and jewellery markets, though he was not in any talks. He would not comment on possible interest in the Littlewoods high street stores which were recently put up for sale, or in the British jewellery businesses of Signet, the H Samuel and Ernest Jones retailer with which it has been linked in the past.
"We would be prepared to look at turnarounds or at something in the furniture, sports or leisure markets," Mr Smith said.
Argos still has pounds 114m of net cash after last year's pounds 127m special dividend. Mr Smith said Argos would consider returning cash to shareholders if no suitable acquisition target could be found. He was speaking as Argos announced a 14 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 141m. Mr Smith also detailed the reasons behind the January profits warning, which was then attributed only to a pre-Christmas sales slowdown.
The company said sales in its key markets of toys, electricals and jewellery were down due to a decline in the market. However, Argos said it had grown its market share in those sectors.
It also said it had made mistakes in its pre-Christmas staffing policies. Temporary staff had been hired too late and given inadequate training. This led to longer queues at tills and a higher level of "walkaways" where customers give up waiting and go elsewhere.
Argos said sales in toys, electricals and jewellery had recovered strongly and were showing double-digit like-for- like sales increases. Group like- for-like sales are currently 7 per cent ahead.
Argos is set to expand in Holland and will open five stores there next February. Start-up costs will be around pounds 5m this year.
Thirty-eight stores were opened last year, taking the total to 404. There are now 10 Call & Collect outlets where customers call to place orders and collect the goods the following day. Two further First Shop stores have been developed as Argos tests the concept of selling electrical goods and consumer durables at lower prices.
The shares closed 9.5p higher at 648.5p.
Investment column, page 22
As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity
Savoury patisserie is a thing now
Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
Striker ignored Brendan Rodger's request to applaud audience
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Stella McCartney apologises over controversial 'very ill' model picture on Instagram
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole named 'the most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...