March 12, 2015 / 7:21 AM / 3 years ago

Argos-owner posts big drop in year-end like-for-like sales

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest household goods retailer Home Retail delivered a weaker-than-expected finish to the year at both its Argos and Homebase chains, although it said cost controls and improvements to its margin had helped the bottom line.

The group said it expected pretax profit for the year to be at the top end of market forecasts of 120 million pounds to 132 million pounds. Analysts on average expected 123 million pounds, according to Reuters data.

The company said like-for-like sales at its bigger Argos chain fell 5 percent in the eight weeks to end-February, falling far short of forecasts of a 0.2 percent fall, reflecting poor demand for consumer electronic products.

Sales at its Homebase DIY chain on the same measure also disappointed, dropping by 0.9 percent against predictions for a rise of 0.4 percent.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton

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