Argos is forging ahead with its ambitious goal of having its own-brands make up at least a third of sales by 2018 and has launched a new homeware label called The Collection, a seal of faith in the brand amid the merger with Sainsbury's, which also has a number of its own home and electrical brands.
This is now the second year of Argos’ own-brand drive, which is being pushed forward by a dedicated team overseen by former Johnson and Johnson marketer Alyson Lockley.
Speaking to The Drum, Lockley said that her team has so far been unaffected by the merger (which resulted in a number of redundancies at head office level) but that a review is ongoing about how Sainsbury’s non-food brands will come into the mix. Despite this, she is “confident” in meeting the target set for 2018.
“Own brands are still very big part of the [Argos] strategy. Sainsbury’s obviously has some very strong brands as well in non-food so at this stage we’re working with the teams to see what we’re going to do. It’s sill very early days, but [own-brands] are still a very big part of the strategy,” she told The Drum.
“The target is still part of the plan. It’s very much an Argos target and as we go through the different portfolios we can update on that. But we are very excited about the opportunities for both retailers.”
The Collection has been launched as a competitor to John Lewis’ own-brand range, with a similar price point and range of some 1,500 goods. It will sit just under Argos’ Heart of House range (a competitor to the likes of Next and Made.com), which was the focus of Lockley’s pre-Christmas activity last year.
Since then, internal research has shown that Heart of House products have not only introduced more customers to Argos (around 20 per cent of its buyers are completely new customers) but that people are seeing the retailer as more than simply a retailer for electricals and toys.
“For the last 12 months we’ve really been working on what our home portfolio looks like,” she said. “The Collection is now a big part of that – it’s about product to be proud of.”
The brand is using its five-month partnership with Loose Women to drive awareness, while a digital campaign will push out inspirational content.
“Our confidence is that we can take a great share of [the homeware market]. We think there is a big opportunity,” said Lockley.