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Monday, 14 January, 2002, 12:59 GMT
Argos sales boost GUS
Argos store
Sales grew faster than expected in the run-up to Christmas
Strong Christmas sales at its Argos catalogue store chain has provided a boost for the retail group GUS.

Argos saw same-store sales jump 14% over the 14 weeks to 5 January, compared to the same period the previous year, as shoppers snapped up electronic goods, furniture and toys in the run-up to Christmas.

GUS' credit-checking business Experian also recorded a solid 5% rise in business.

But the luxury brand Burberry did less well, with underlying sales falling.

'Good progress'

"Against the background of current economic conditions, GUS has made further good progress in the third quarter, highlighted by Argos," GUS Chief Executive John Peace said in a statement.

Burberry fashion picture
Burberry's sales fell 2%
The sales growth seen at Argos was almost double what most analysts had been expecting.

But weaknesses in other parts of the GUS group did not go unnoticed.

"GUS' Q3 trading statement was a mixed bag," said a note from Credit Suisse First Boston.

"Argos surprised on the upside, but Burberry disappointed and the commentary on Experian was far from encouraging."

Burberry checked

The Burberry brand put in a weak performance, with underlying sales falling 2% over the three months to 31 December.

Demand for the brand has wavered since 11 September, as people have turned away from luxury goods.

GUS is planning to partially float the Burberry business later this year.

The Experian credit-checking business also saw a drop-off in US trade in the immediate aftermath of September's terror attacks.

The latest figures showed growth in Experian's North America was slower than elsewhere.

While worldwide sales grew 5% on an underlying basis, in North America they grew by only 2%.

See also:

29 Nov 01 | Business
Burberry growth drives GUS
11 Oct 01 | Business
Burberry growth checked
05 Jun 01 | Business
GUS profits from credit ratings
03 Jun 01 | Business
Burberry float 'still on'
30 Nov 00 | Business
Burberry earns independence
04 Sep 00 | Business
Home shopping nightmare
01 Sep 00 | Business goes cheap
01 Aug 00 | Business
GUS cuts 600 jobs
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