A cost-cutting drive overseen by the Home Retail Group, parent company of Argos and Homebase, has delivered dividends with a substantial 32 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to £93.8m, helped along by a one per cent rise in total sales to £5.71bn.
Drilling down into the figures the catalogue retailer saw sales rise by 0.6 per cent, with 46 per cent of its customers now ditching the rigmarole of its cumbersome laminated books to purchase directly on line.
Sales at its sister chain Homebase performed even better with like-for-like sales rising 2.3 per cent, although the DIY chain remains committed to a cost-cutting drive that will see a quarter of its outlets close by 2019, having already reduced the size of its estate from 323 stores to 296.
John Coombe, chairman of Home Retail Group, said: "The Group has completed another year of good financial performance, delivering both like-for-like sales and profit growth, together with a strong year-end cash balance of over £300m.
“Our focus on managing costs and gross margin together with our ongoing cash management were all critical in delivering this good overall financial performance.”