News roundup—Argos, Dunelm, Thorntons and more

News roundup—Argos, Dunelm, Thorntons and more

The sluggish economic climate was to blame for Argos’s 5.8 per cent drop in sales to £927 million in the second quarter. Meanwhile, at sister company Homebase, sales were down 8.3 per cent to £389 million. Yesterday Kesa, the owner of electricals chain Comet, admitted that it will plunge into the red in the first half of its financial year following a slump in sales over the summer, writes the Telegraph.

The John Lewis Partnership has suffered its first profits fall in five years reports The Times, adding that “the figures are the clearest indication yet of the extent of the consumer downturn as John Lewis is widely regarded as one of the best performing businesses on the high street.”

Pretax profits are up 19.8 per cent to £49.1 million at out-of-town homewares retailer Dunelm. The group, which recently bought the Dorma brand for £5 million, isn’t as upbeat as you’d expect; it also confirmed that recent trading has become “increasingly difficult”.

Are you ready for some good news? Electronics components distributor Premier Farnell’s new global strategy is doing well. It posted a 15 per cent rise in first-half profit and has a “rosy” outlook for the rest of the year.

Also optimistic is Derbyshire-based confectioner Thorntons, which unveiled full year profits of £8.5m-a rise of 19.6 per cent. Its direct division alone delivered £8.6 million in sales.

The Independent is asking a question that many of those in the multichannel sector have found the answer to long ago-“Online clothes shopping: is it any good?”.’s chief Nick Robertson is at hand to explain that yes, it is.

Littlewoods communications director David Boardman is leaving the business to return to consultancy work reports HowDo. He will be replaced by Ann Bryon who joins from B&Q and Screwfix parent company Kingfisher.


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