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Research, Charts & Company Announcements

Research Tree provides access to ongoing research coverage, media content and regulatory news on HOME RETAIL GROUP. We currently have 4 research reports from 1 professional analysts.

Date Source Announcement
02Sep16 05:16 RNS Holding(s) in Company
02Sep16 04:15 RNS Completion of Acquisition
02Sep16 12:25 RNS Directorate Change
02Sep16 11:20 RNS Director/PDMR Shareholding
02Sep16 11:20 RNS Director/PDMR Shareholding
01Sep16 01:45 RNS Scheme has become effective
31Aug16 05:17 RNS Dealings in Home Retail Group shares suspended
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Argos attempts a comeback

  • 31 Mar 16

Home Retail Group (HRG) posted Q4 (8-week period ending 27 February 2016) and FY16 results slightly better than our estimates. In Q4, lfl revenue of Argos (core retail business) decreased by 1.1% and total revenue was up 1.9%, with a 3% contribution from new space. The non-electrical products (particularly furniture and general sports) and mobiles posted healthy growth, while jewellery and electrical products (gaming, tablets and white goods) witnessed a decline. Internet sales grew by 13% during the quarter and represented 51% of sales (vs. 46% in the same period last year). The gross margin at Argos was up 75bp (vs -225bp in Q3 and +100bp in H1) during the same period. For the full year, revenue at Argos declined 2.6% on a lfl basis (vs. our estimate of -3.1%) and the gross margin dipped 50bp yoy. However, reported sales growth was flat as the lfl decline was offset by new space (+2.6%), from the 94 digital concessions and collection points opened during the year. HRG generated better than expected cash flows during the year (excl. Homebase disposal proceeds) as net cash flow was close to zero (vs our estimate of £90m outflow and £110m outflow by consensus). The year-end underlying cash balance, excluding Homebase’s proceeds, stood at £310m (FY15: £309m). For FY16, the full-year benchmark PBT is expected to be c. £93m (vs. our estimate of £104m), in line with the guidance of the lower end of consensus expectations, i.e. £92m to £118m.

Q3 hamstrung by rickety Argos, while Homebase bids adieu

  • 19 Jan 16

Home Retail posted Q3 FY15-16 results lagging market expectations as well as our estimates, pinned down once again by a bleeding Argos and the negative impact of Homebase store closures. Although Argos (c.72% of total revenue) clocked its highest-ever sales on Black Friday (+41% y-o-y), the subpar revenue growth in the rest of the quarter and depleted gross margins led the company to issue yet another profit warning (second in four months). As per the revised guidance, the benchmark PBT in FY15-16 is likely to be at the lower end of consensus range of £92m-£118m (vs. October 2015 profit warning of PBT below £115m) vs. our earlier estimate of £108m. Note that the third quarter results are always higher for Home Retail as the quarter typically has 18 weeks (30 August 2015 to 02 January 2016). - LFL sales at Argos declined by 2.2% during the quarter (vs. -3.4% in H1) on account of languishing sales of white goods, tablets and video games. The increase in online sales for Argos (53% vs 49% y-o-y, mobile commerce: 31% vs 28% y-o-y) during the quarter was offset by a 13% reduction in traditional store walk-in sales in December. New store openings (+3.1%, 95 digital concessions year to date) resulted in a net increase (though marginal) in total revenue to £1,837m (+0.9%). The gross margin at Argos was down 225bp (vs. +100bp in H1) due to the anticipated impact of adverse currency and shipping costs, higher marketing expenses and reversal of certain timing benefits realised in H1 FY15-16. - Homebase grew 5% on LFL basis (+5.6% in H1) boosted by performance of kitchen and bathroom products. Net sales, however, reduced by 4% to £434m on account of 9% reduction in store space during the period (6 stores shut in Q3 FY15-16, 31 closures ytd). Gross margin witnessed a decline of 50bp on the back of anticipated adverse currency and shipping costs, although a reduced level of stock clearance activity offered some respite. Despite dismal trading, the share price has rallied in the last few weeks on the back of news flow on M&A, first from Sainsbury and then from Wesfarmers: - Australia’s retail group, Wesfarmers has signed an agreement with Home Retail to acquire 100% of its DIY division, Homebase, for £340m (17x FY14 EBIT multiple). Homebase-owned brands Habitat, Schreiber, and Hygena would be excluded from the sale but licensed to Wesfarmers for one year. Out of the total proceeds, £200m would be returned to shareholders, while the rest would go towards restructuring and the pension scheme. Home Retail’s board has unanimously supported the deal which is expected to be completed in first quarter of calendar year 2016. - Sainsbury’s revealed on 05 January 2016 that its offer to buy Home Retail for c.£1bn was rejected by Home Retail. Sainsbury’s, which is buoyed by trialling Argos concessions in 10 of its stores, believes that the two firms offer complementary products. Sainsbury’s also released a presentation recently making a case for Argos which will enhance its online proposition (>50% online sales) and delivery capabilities. As per regulatory norms, Sainsbury’s needs to roll out the revised offer by 02 February 2016 or the acquisition bid will be cancelled.

PBT guidance lowered; gross margin erosion amidst weak markets

  • 29 Oct 15

Subdued performance in Argos in H1 16 (ending August) and uncertainty on Argos's Christmas season performance in H2 16 led the company to issue a profit warning. As for the new guidance, FY16 PBT (pre-exceptionals) is likely to be below the consensus range of £115-140m as further slippage of 50bp in the gross margin is expected in both businesses (Argos: down 75bp to 30.3% and Homebase: down 100bp to 47.5%). Total sales in H1 declined 2% to £2,628.5m; Argos was down 1.5% to £1,743m and Homebase was down 2.2% to £816m. - Argos posted a lfl decline of 3.4% in H1 on the back of a decrease in the sales of electrical products, such as TVs, tablets and white goods, partially offset by a good performance in toys and mobiles; The gross margin was up 100bp and benefited from favourable FX movements and lower shipping in its sourcing costs with the build-up in inventory for the main season in H2 - Homebase’s lfl sales growth was 5.6% partially due to trade transfer and the stock clearance sales benefits (attributable to the store closure programme); however, total sales were down 2.2% on account of the impact of store closures (-7.8%). The online business (almost half of the Argos business) continues to grow and is supported by new digital store openings, now 148 out of the total 840 Argos stores. Argos's Transformation plan (Fast Track delivery, digital channel, etc.) as well as Homebase's Productivity plan (25 stores closed in H1) are on track.