High street retailers report Christmas sales

<p>Christmas sales have been reported by various high street companies.</p>

Some of the UK's largest high street retail companies have reported their sales data for the Christmas period today (January 16th).

Home Retail Group, which owns recognisable brands such as Homebase and Argos, announced that full year profits are now expected to be towards the top end of the current range of market expectations of £90 million to £109 million.

As has been the case with many retailers in the last year, online sales have proven to be increasingly important and these now make up around half of all total sales at Argos, which saw sales rise by 3.8 per cent in the 18 weeks to January 4th.

Homebase also had a profitable Christmas period, as the company confirmed its sales were almost five per cent higher over the course of the same period.

Good trading

Commenting on the results, chief executive of Home Retail Group Terry Duddy stated that both Argos and Homebase have delivered another period of good trading performance despite a challenging consumer environment.

He said: "In its peak trading period Argos has continued to grow internet sales, which now represent nearly half of total Argos sales. This growth was supported by a strong performance in mobile commerce sales which represented 20 per cent of total Argos sales in the period. This gives further reinforcement to our plan for Argos to become a digital retail leader."

As well as Home Retail Group, Dixons has also confirmed its Christmas sales data. Figures revealed by the firm showed UK and Ireland like for likes were five per cent higher in November and December.

Group chief executive Sebastian James described the Christmas trading period as "lively". He said: "I am pleased to report that we have turned in a good performance. We have consolidated last year's strong gains and I am confident that we have gained further market share."

By 08:20 GMT this morning, the share price of Home Retail Group was almost three per cent higher for the day, while stocks in Dixons were down by 2.4 per cent following the sales news.

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