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Home Retail Expects Strong First-Half, Hit by Homebase

Home Retail Group delivered an upbeat trading statement Wednesday and predicted strong first-half results boosted by growing like-for-like sales at catalog storeArgos, but results from Homebase disappointed.

Like-for-like sales at Argos rose 1.8% in the second quarter, but sales at do-it-yourself chain Homebase fell 8% in the same quarter due to wet weather in the U.K.

Analysts had expected Argos' underlying sales to rise by between 0.8% and 2%, and sales at Homebase to fall by between 4% and 7%, according to a Reuters poll.

"For the first half overall, further progress on gross margins and continued cost control is expected to see profits at Homebase ahead of last year and strong growth at Argos," Chief Executive Terry Duddy said in the statement.