Argos have announced plans to scale back their high street operations and focus on online sales only. Home Retail, Argos’ parent company, have announced planed to close 75 stores over the next 5 years.
Currently Argos have around 740 stores in the UK and around 14 in Essex (see list of Essex stores below). It is expected that stores in smaller towns are likely to face closure first, although nothing has been confirmed yet.
Argos is still the largest general goods retailer in the UK, however increasing competition from the major supermarkets as well as online companies is slowly eating away at their lead.
Although Argos sales actually increased by 0.6% in 2012, a decline of 9.1% in 2011 has shown Home Retail that the high street is not the future home for Argos.
Argos – From Catalogues to the Internet
“We have concluded a comprehensive business review of Argos which highlighted a clear opportunity to transform the business through increased investment in digital technologies”.
In a way Argos has always been designed for the Internet. Long before people searched online Argos produced catalogues to take home so that people could search for gifts and items for the home and then quickly order in-store and pick up,. without the hassle of having to browse through aisles of shelves.
Argos have recently updated their website. On their Twitter page they shared some of the new features:
The #newArgoswebsite includes one click reservation making it even easier to check & reserve http://4rd.ca/aabjBF.
Argos also have a Facebook and Pinterest page. Pinterest is a relatively new social media sites that allows people to share photos on virtual pin boards – it is very popular with online businesses who share their most style product photos.
It is really only a matter of time before Argos goes fully online – although it is a shame that they did not make their move sooner. They could have dominated online sales in the UK had the developed their digital sales strategy before Amazon became dominate. However, there is still hope that they may once again become the preferred catalogue shopping store in the UK.
Home Retail also own Homebase and the rights to the Habitat brand. They have slashed their dividend payment recently and also been forced to close their final salary pension scheme.
Argos Stores in Essex
Argos has many stores in Essex. At the moment we do not know which will be affected by the closures.
- Basildon, Pipps Hill
- Basildon, Westgate Park
- Braintree , Bicking End
- Billericay High Street
- Chelmsford Springfield Road
- Chelmsford Chelmer Village
- Clacton on Sea, West Avenue
- Colchester, Long Wyre Street
- Harlow Retail Park (Edinburgh Way)
- Harwich, Gateway Retail Park
- Rayleigh Weir
- Romford Gallows Corner
- Southend on Sea, Victoria Circus Shopping Centre
- Southend Airport Business Park