13 January 2011 – interim management statement

An Interim Management Statement has been released, covering the 18 weeks from 29 August 2010 to 1 January 2011. Group benchmark profit before tax for the year is now expected to be around the mid-point of the previously guided range of £250m to £275m. Clearly this makes the current market capitalisation of £1.82bn look interesting, particularly given the very strong balance sheet. Of particular interest given the prospects for growth in this area, the internet represented 38% of Argos sales, up from 35% a year earlier, with online reservations accounting for over 75% of these sales. The Argos application for Apple devices has been downloaded 1.2 million times and was used to place almost a million reservations in the period. Details of trading for the remaining eight weeks of the current financial year, ending 26 February, will be released on Thursday 10 March with full year results following on Wednesday 20 April. Ahead of the next announcement the shares must rate as a BUY.