Deathwatch: Argos profits plummet yet again

19 October 2011

retail deathwatch Is it almost all over for Argos, the catalogue store that has graced the nation’s high streets for decades? It could be, as the company has just reported a drop in operating profits from £54.4m to a staggering £3m.

Fortunately for Home Retail Group, the parent company of Argos, their other main company, Homebase, has made a first half pre-tax profit of £29.9m, but even that is down from the last reported figure of £46.2m. Crazy times, disturbing scenes.

But when you look closer, it’s kind of inevitable. In a price comparison done by The Guardian, Amazon regularly trumped Argos, while the catalogue shop fared poorly in a survey that Which! have just published, Argos being placed 20th as an electrical retailer and only 5th in furniture and homewares.

If Argos continues to be a jack of all trades while being a master of none, how much longer can it realistically last? And would it be missed? Tell us, you DOGS.

TOPICS:   High Street News


  • Mr M.
    It would be a very sad day if Argos went tits up. Where else can you rent something for 14 days and then take it back for a full refund ??
  • The s.
    Argos is a fantastic place to rent/upgrade products if you take out their extended warranty. I bought a pair of sony headphones a few years back. I periodically break them and take them back just to ensure I always have a relatively new pair. Early this year I took them back as 'oh no they've only gone and broken AGAIN!'... to find that the spring summer 2011 catalogue didnt do them anymore... so I paid an extra £3 and upgraded to a better pair... which reminds me... I think they're about to stop working.... As for Argos going tits up... it's a sign of the times I'm afraid. The whole 'catalogue shop' idea is a tired and moribund business model. Unless you need a product right now... it's easier, quicker, cheaper and more convenient to go online. Argos needs to get with the times and offer something else that online retailers don't. I'm thinking maybe while your waiting for the item to come down from the warehouse you can go into a large play-pen full of puppies, specially trained to lick your face... Or perhaps a monkey that does amusing and cheeky things.....
  • DragonChris
    On the plus side, they were the cheapest place for a new bed frame - being delivered today, so they'd better not go bust before it's delivered :)
  • Haggis
    I've had £50 of Argos gift vouchers in my wallet for the last 6 months. Still can't bring myself to actually shop in the god forsaken place.
  • Spyro
    Generally it is more expensive than other stores, so I go elsewhere. Simples. If they priced their products better then they would sell more - particularly their electricals. Not exactly rocket science.
  • Steve
    Only shop where you can buy products you actually need, cheaply on our High Street. Will miss it when/if it goes.
  • MarkG
    Their REAL problem is pricing and always out of date technology section. Phones that are £450 at Argos are now £299 online.... Why on earth would I shop there? I think they need to ditch the always out of date paper catalogues and endless update flyers, and be online and instore electronic browser only. That way they can micromanage their prices to ensure they are always competitive. They need to be smart, lean and competitive, and I don't think their current leadership understand this.
  • KKKR
    May be Argos and Amazon should come to an agreement so us consumers will be able to buy from Amazon and collect from Argos.
  • @kkkr
    @ KKKR now thats a good idea! :)
  • Avon B.
    Their retail model has had its day. It's uniqueness was in being able to shop at home and then pick it up. They were pretty much the only game in town and cheaper than the Grattan etc catalogues. Now anybody with a computer can shop at home at lower prices and it's even delivered, often for free.
  • Rob
    I like sitting on a plastic chair in a line of plastic chairs waiting before I get the goods I haven't yet seen but have already paid for. The tombola feeling when your number flashes up and you are told exactly which 'collection point' you have to go to. You can't use just any you know.
  • lumoruk
    bang on the money mark.
  • IPv6
    Sometimes I hate the Internet....:( Argos, HMV, and so on....all great companies.
  • captain c.
    The "Argos Lottery"* was the only USP they have had for years; it has been a long, long time since their prices were LOWER than anywhere else. * paying for something, then eagerly waiting to see if they accidentally give you something more valuable; I have won three times !! Paid £12.50 and got something worth £150 Paid £89 and got something worth £120 THAT WASNT EVEN IN THE CATALOGUE !! Paid £20 and got given something worth £50 Yeah, I know, I need to get a life.
  • jah128
    Does anyone at Bitterwallet understand the concept of the word 'profit'? I'd be willing to bet that if CrapPairTree Media or whoever it was you numptys worked for turned a £3m profit, they would happily hire a few somewhat more literate hacks to write their crapblogs...
  • Boo H.
    jah128, poor you having to not only read this crapblog but also comment on it. Laters, I'm off for a ROFL.
  • businessman
    I fucking love Argos!!! They just need a bit of lurrve and tweaking. Why the hell don't Amazon buy them??? Imagine how cool it would be to order your Amazon stuff then pick it up at Argos instead of some shitty courier sticking his "you weren't in" card through your letterbocks. Oh wait you are all posh bastards get your stuff delivered at work. Just wait till HR finally notice how much time goods inwards spends sorting it out that shit will come to a full stop real soon now.
  • akin
    Just got a Christmas job at Argos, working in the warehouse, love working there already, would hate to see it go.
  • Delenn
    Argos always used to be the cheapest or tied cheapest for anything they sold. They were reliable. No more, they are nearly always tied most expensive. Sad times, but they priced themselves out of the market.
  • Dick
    @businessman. What in the name of sweet, muscular, weeping Jesus is a 'letterbocks'? Perhaps you don't have a 'posh' job because you are illiterate?
  • Richard M.
    To redress the Amazon vs Argos price balance, I defy anyone to find 15.6" HP Pavilion laptops cheaper than on the Argos website! A 750GB hard drive with 4GB memory for just £379.99 including a free carrying bag. Even Amazon cannot get close to that! Furthermore, you can have a choice of 4 colours! I must admit however, it wasn't long ago I saw USB printer cables in Argos for a staggering £11 when the same cable on Ebay or Amazon is about 29p!
  • Businessman
    @Dick - stop reading the Daily Mail and read Viz. Then you can learn about Letterbocks. Or if can't be arsed then just google letterbocks.
  • Brad
    Here's my Argos rant! Ordered bed and cupboard 600 odd quids worth, (Money taken I might add) delivery in 28 days time, fine, moving to the gf gaff end of the month, great timing! September 30th has been and gone, no contact, call Argos, sorry not in stock, wont arrive until 30th of October, Useless.....
  • Agross
    I used to use Argos quite a bit - until the 'orrible, "far superior being than I" supervisor at the Nottingham Riverside branch spoke to me as if I was six on an issue that she was quite clearly incorrect. Not spent a penny with them since, ok, a couple of hundred quid a month isn't going to register on the grand scale but I'm sure that I am not alone. Their piss poor, arrogant, fat, uninformed, delusional, half arsed customer services must surely play a part in this. Good F*ckin riddance is what I say - that just how bad my last experience was, bitch.
  • Agross
    Forgot to say - I'm actually 10 Just to be clear.
  • james D.
    jah128, the point is that their profits keep falling, how much longer till they turn negative?
  • k a.
    Shop there when I can as they are so good at replacing things with new ones when they break, they never ask many questions, just give you a new one, and if they don't stock it anymore they give you a credit voucher. - much better than say Boots who when you return a faulty shaver send it away for 3 weeks to be repaired...... so what are you supposed to do whilst it is gone? grow a beard?
  • Simon W.
    Very simple , profit warning for Argos. No, its a reality check most companies arent making alot of money. Why, this goverment thought would be clever idea to raise vat from a expectable 17.5 to foolish 20%. Why would you want to spend, if your wages are frozen for a period of time. Petrol , Food and ulitity bills have gone up for no real reason other than blind greed. Will argos go down, problarly not. If the goverment listens, which hasnt since took power to people. It will lower the vat , freeze any tax rises for at least a 2 year period. And people will spend. If argos want people to go to there store, they cant only pray for 2 things, a new goverment or temporary decrease in vat.
  • Robot D.
    Hang on? Where else will I be able to get second hand crap sold as new?!?!?!
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  • aoj
    Above post by Posted by Rob • October 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm was spot on. I went in for the first time in years what a depressing place! I was unhappy with my item as it was cheap and useless for the job, I should have known better. I had obnoxious staff refuse to refund. A call to the customer service and I only received a "very sorry" and no satisfaction. No more purchases from me ever again. It reeks of desperation and a need to hang on to money. I'll be glad when they've gone the way of all the other dinosaurs.
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