LONDON–Home Retail Group PLC HOME.LN, owner of the Argos and Homebase brands in the U.K., said Wednesday market conditions remain fragile and it will need to close 75 stores over the next five years, but it would continue to invest in digital retailing as it reported a rise in first-half net profit.
-Sales GBP2.53 billion in the six months to Sept. 1, broadly in line with expectations (2011: gbp2.57 billion)
-Same-store sales at Argos up 0.6%; down 6.2% at Homebase
-Net profit gbp36.5 million (2011: gbp20.4 million)
-Pretax profit gbp51.1 million (2011: gbp29.4 million)
-Adjusted pretax profit down 37% to GBP18 million
-Interim dividend 1.0 pence (2011:4.7 pence)
-Shares closed Tuesday at 104.1 pence valuing the company at GBP847 million.
Corrections and Amplifications
This article was corrected at 06:53 GMT. The original misstated the same-store sales figures in the second bullet point. Same-store sales at Argos rose 0.6% in the six months to Sept. 1 and declined 6.2% at Homebase during the same period, not down 9.6% at Argos and up 1.6% at Homebase.