October 23, 2013 / 6:19 AM / 4 years ago

Argos owner Home Retail posts 53 pct jump in first half profit

LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Britain's Home Retail Group , the firm behind Argos and DIY chain Homebase, reported a 53 percent jump in first half profit and said it was in good shape as it approached its key Christmas trading period.

The group said on Wednesday benchmark pretax profit for the six months to Aug. 31 had risen to 27.4 million pounds ($44.42 million), slightly ahead of a company compiled consensus forecast of 23.6 million pounds.

Revenue rose 3 percent to 2.6 billion pounds, helped by a strong summer of garden furniture and barbecue sales at Homebase. Like-for-like sales grew 5.9 percent at Homebase, its best performance since its acquisition in 2002, and rose 2.3 percent at its larger Argos business.

After five straight years of profit decline, Home Retail is revamping its Homebase stores and reinventing household goods retailer Argos from a catalogue-led to digitally-led business, targeting a 15 percent rise in sales to 4.5 billion pounds by 2018.

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