LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - Home Retail, Britain's biggest household goods retailer, said it was on course to meet annual profit forecasts after posting strong quarterly sales growth at both its Argos and Homebase businesses.
Sales at Argos stores open for more than a year rose 4.9 percent in the 13 weeks to May 31, its fiscal first quarter, led by strong demand for seasonal products and electrical items, and grew 7.9 percent at home improvement chain Homebase, helped by higher sales of big-ticket items like kitchens.
Gross margins were, however, down 25 basis points and 50 basis points at Argos and Homebase respectively.
"We are pleased with this encouraging start to the year, but remain mindful that we will annualise more challenging comparators in both businesses through the remainder of the year," said Chief Executive John Walden. (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)