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Thursday, February 26, 1998 Published at 16:51 GMT


Argos attacks GUS offer

Argos has shored up its defences against Great Universal Stores, accusing the mail order giant of trying to buy it "on the cheap".

The battle to fend of the 1.6bn hostile bid stepped up a gear with Argos issuing its defence document and attacking GUS's "declining" core business.

This came as Argos announced that it had enjoyed an "outstanding" track record since its flotation on to the stock market in 1990.

Argos Chairman Sir Richard Lloyd told shareholders: "GUS has bid for Argos for two very simple reasons, to get your company on the cheap and in doing so to hide the decline in its core mail order business.

"Argos has an exciting future. Our retailing format has significant competitive strength, combining its unique catalogue offer with a national chain of stores.

"The inherent strengths of Argos, combined with our initiatives to continue to develop your business in the UK and internationally, provide significant opportunities for future growth.

"Your company has increased its turnover, operating profits, earnings per share and dividends per share every year since 1991."

In its results statement, which was brought forward from next week, Argos said underlying operating profits for the year increased to 128.9m in 1997 from 128.5m.

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