Argos has revealed a five-year transformation plan which will see it develop from a catalogue-based shop to a digital retailer.
The plan has four main goals:
- Reposition Argos' channels for a digital future
- Provide more product choice, available to customers faster
- Develop a customer offer that has universal appeal
- Operate a leaner and more flexible cost base
Terry Duddy, chief executive of the Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, said Argos had produced a "solid first half of the year", helped by its multi-channel sales, with consumer electronics selling particularly well.
"During the first half of the year we took additional action to control costs, tightly managed our working capital and delivered a strong cash performance which has strengthened the group's financial position," he continued, adding that despite the fragile state of consumers' spending, the group was in "good shape" ahead of its key Christmas period.
As part of the five-year plan, Argos plans to close or relocate 75 of its 739 high street stores, and will cut back on the circulation of its famous catalogue.
It hopes that the plan, along with the £100m investment into the business over the next three years, will generate £4.5 billion of sales for Argos by 2018.
For the six months to 1 September, the Home Retail Group, which also owns the Homebase chain, reported an underlying pretax profit of £18m, a figure which was down 37%. Its sales also fell 1% to £2.53bn.
The markets appeared to react well to the news, with morning trading seeing a 8% rise in share price for Home Retail Group on 24 October.