GUS posts 80% drop in home shopping profits

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The Independent Online

Great Universal Stores, the country's largest home shopping group, said yesterday that home shopping sales had continued to slide but trading was on course to meet market expectations.

Great Universal Stores, the country's largest home shopping group, said yesterday that home shopping sales had continued to slide but trading was on course to meet market expectations.

The group, which has turnover of £5.7bn and includes the Argos catalogue network and luxury goods label Burberry, posted a 6 per cent drop in home shopping sales in the year to 22 July, blaming weakness in clothing sales due to the squeeze from discount retailers.

Last month GUS, which has cut its customer recruitment costs, revealed an 80 per cent plummet in home shopping profits for the year from £106.3m to £21m. In May and June, sales from catalogues such as Kays fell 7 per cent. Rowan Morgan, an analyst at Teather & Greenwood, said the slide reflected a general decline in home shopping.

"The days of the 1000-page catalogue book are numbered. Home shopping is gently moving into being far more specialist, and needs to be more clearly branded. We will move to smaller-scale books with better quality, more specialist merchandise," he predicted.

Shares in GUS fell 0.5p to close at 424.5p.

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