Ailing retailer Argos set to shut 60 shops as it turns to the web

STORES BLOW: Argos will shut dozens of stores.
STORES BLOW: Argos will shut dozens of stores.
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Argos is to shut down 60 stores as the ailing retailer switches to the internet to lure shoppers.

The group said it is too early to say which stores will be kept open.

The move will mean a switch away from the Argos catalogue, which was introduced in 1973, although the retailer insisted it won’t be axed altogether.

The plan is to close or relocate 75 stores, with 60 shut down and 15 relocated. The group currently has 739 Argos stores, 52 of which are in Yorkshire.

It has four stores in Leeds at Headrow, Crown Point, Colton and the White Rose centre, as well as two stores in Bradford and sites in Birstall, Guiseley, Dewsbury and Wakefield.

Argos said it has not decided which stores will be closed or relocated.

A spokeswoman said: “We’ll look at stores as their lease comes up for renewal. We’ll also look at profitability. We’ll close or relocate 10 per cent of stores over a five year period.”

Argos has been hit hard by the recession as its lower income earners have suffered more than wealthier consumers.

At the same time it faces fierce competition from value-driven supermarkets like Leeds-based Asda and online rivals such as Amazon.

Argos’s parent company Home Retail is targeting a 15 per cent increase in sales by 2018 by focusing on PC, mobile and tablet sales to attract shoppers who haven’t shopped at Argos before.

Home Retail group’s chief executive Terry Duddy said: “The plan will reinvent Argos as a digital retail leader. The transformation programme is ambitious, but achievable.”

In future stores will be used to collect goods that have been ordered online or through mobile devices.

Circulation of the traditional Argos catalogue will be reduced and it will be adapted to support the digital offer.

Mr Duddy predicted it will be around “in some form or other” at the end of the five-year plan.

The plan is to sell a bigger range of products to appeal to a wider range of customers.

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