News roundup—11th June 2009

News roundup—11th June 2009

Both Argos and Homebase had “better than
expected” first-quarter sales, according to a statement
from parent company Home Retail Group. Although
like-for-like sales at Argos fell 2.8 per cent, the cataloguer’s
total revenue for the quarter was up 0.9 per cent from the first
quarter of last year to £937 million. Sales from its Check
& Reserve service, which enables customers to order online and
pick up the goods in-store, climbed 45 per cent. At DIY chain
Homebase, meanwhile, like-for-like sales grew 3.8 per cent and
total sales rose 5.8 per cent, to £465 million.

First-quarter sales at electrical components and industrial
products merchant Premier Farnell fell 14.9 per cent on a
constant-exchange-rate basis, to £204.3 million. But
“year-on-year sales performance in April and May showed an
improvement over March,” according to a statement. In other
news, the company launched a web portal, Element14, to provide
industry news and social-networking features for electronic

Natural Collection, a cataloguer of fair-trade and
ethical goods, has relaunched its website with new
social-networking features such as customer reviews and an
expanded line of food products. The company has also brought
product fulfilment in-house. Natural Collection merged with
Ethical Collection, which also sells fair-trade goods,
in March.

Could it be that the UK is almost out of the recession? The
National Institute of Economic and Social Research, for one,
thinks so, reports If this proves to be the
case, the UK would be the first of the major industrialised
nations to show economic growth.


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