Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Targeting big spenders is a bit rich these days

News that retailer Argos is to close 75 stores across the UK won't come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been keeping half an eye on retail statistics over the last few years.

However, one of the reasons behind the company's decision will certainly prompt a few quizzical looks.

There's no doubting Argos needs to develop its online presence because no matter how comforting a fresh catalogue is there's no denying today's internet savvy shopper is 'sooo over' such an antiquated system.

But targeting bigger spending customers seems odd.

"Argos' offer has historically been more biased towards less affluent customers, with this group having the highest purchase frequency. While continuing to serve these loyal customers, Argos has a substantial opportunity to grow the business by expanding its customer reach with a more universally appealing offer," said a company statement.

This, at a time when consumer confidence is at rock bottom and disposable income is shrinking. This, the day after high-end handbag maker Mulberry saw 25% knocked off its value after being forced to issue a profit warning.

Argos is taking a brave move but is obviously planning on the economy picking up in the next few years.

For now though its contraction certainly represents a sign of the times.