Argos joins the small city-store revolution

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The Independent Online

Argos, the catalogue retailer, is taking a leaf out of Tesco's book and branching out into small, city centre convenience stores, which could add £100m to its top line.

The company, which is being spun out of GUS as part of ARG on Wednesday, is opening its first "mini" Argos in Cricklewood, north London, this month. Up to 35 more could follow over the next four to five years across the country, although the majority will be in London.

Sara Weller, the managing director of Argos, hopes the small stores will help the retailer hit its goal of increasing its estate from 670 to more than 800 by 2011.

At 5,000 sq ft, the stores will be the size of a large Tesco Express and one third the size of a normal Argos store. The Cricklewood store will stock about 7,000 lines, compared with 10,000 in a typical Argos.

On Wednesday, the old GUS home shopping empire, founded in 1900, will cease to exist. It splitting itself into two: ARG, which also includes Homebase, and Experian, the financial services group.