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Argos to close 75 stores as part of digital refocus
ARGOS’ trademark catalogue is to take a backseat as the chain refocuses itself as an internet-led retailer.
The firm, which has 739 stores including 28 in the North-East and North Yorkshire, will also close or relocate at least 75 stores over the next five years, moving shops to shorter leases and use them as pick up points for online orders. It is not yet clear how many of the region’s stores will be affected.
Parent company Home Retail Group, which also owns home furnishings retailer Habitat and DIY chain Homebase, said it would reduce the circulation of the traditional 39-year-old Argos catalogue as it refocuses the chain as a digital-led retailer.
It is not yet clear if the plans will affect the firm’s Darlington distribution centre, which employs about 470 people at Faverdale Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the town, but a spokeswoman for Home Retail group said the new plans would centre around distribution.
“Distribution is at the heart of the plan and Darlington is an important distribution centre,” she added.
She also stressed a while a strong local presence would remain important, stores would be adapted to support the online side of the business.
The news comes after a six-month review of the Argos chain to revive the business.
In half-year results also announced today, Home Retail said underlying earnings at Argos were 3 per cent down at £3.3m with a return to like-for-like sales growth, up 0.6 per cent in the six months to September 1.
Argos will launch its first digital catalogue before Christmas and begin trials in January to determine the future format and numbers of the traditional catalogue.
The group has reduced the number of catalogues it prints by around 18% over the past two years to between 16 and 17 million copies twice a year, which are collected by customers in store.