Now a division of supermarket group Sainsbury's, Argos is the UK's biggest general merchandise retailer, and the market leader in multiple sectors including toys, housewares, small domestic appliances and jewellery. It is unique in Britain as a retailer with an extensive network of high street stores, but operating a unusual sales model which has evolved from the company's roots in trading stamps. Each outlet offers a huge range of general merchandise, but almost none of it is displayed on shelves. Instead, customers browse from a printed or digital catalogue instore or from home, and order over the counter or online. Most stores carry several thousand items in stock behind the counter for immediate purchase, with thousands more available for next day delivery or collection. The chain was acquired by Sainsbury's in the break-up of Home Retail Group in 2016, along with the iconic furniture and homewares retailer Habitat in the UK. Following integration into Sainsbury's, Argos retains around 639 free-standing stores as well as separate digital counters in larger Sainsbury's supermarkets. The group expects to have 280 such outlets in operation by early 2019. There are also almost 20 standalone Habitat furniture and homewares stores. John Rogers is CEO of the Sainsbury's Argos division. The group no longer breaks out sales for this business, or indeed for its combined non-groceries operations. However, for the year to 2017, Argos reported revenues of £4.5bn. Originally established in the UK in 1973, Argos passed through several hands over the following decades before becoming part of diversified group GUS in 1998. It was spun out, along with home improvement retailer Homebase, in 2006 as Home Retail Group. Argos began testing an initial partnership with Sainsbury's in 2015 to install dedicated Argos collection points within selected larger Sainsbury's stores. That prepared the ground for the latter's bid to acquire the business outright the following year.
Capsule checked 2nd November 2018
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Adbrands Social Media 2nd Nov 2018: "The Christmas Fool". And so it begins... Just two days into November and it's already Christmas. Like the first cuckoo of summer, Argos is hoping to push other retailers out of your shopping basket with this entertaining romp from The & Partnership. The campaign also marks the first outing for what could be a promisingly disruptive anti-holiday character, the Christmas Fool. One suspects there is more mileage in this adorably nasty little beast than just the one ad.
Adbrands Social Media 27th Apr 2018: "Operation Holiday". The new spot from The & Partnership for what is now Sainsbury-owned general retailer Argos takes the most ordinary concept - an everyday family setting off, chaotically, on holiday - but adds one very significant twist: a military helicopter instead of the family car. The concept is a bit of a stretch - the idea that "going on holiday can be like a military operation" - but who cares when it looks as good as this. Although we're guessing that those kids had to make do with a whole bunch of green screens rather than a ride in the real thing. It's quite a change of pace from &, but at least it doesn't involve any return to those irritating aliens that plagued Argos advertising for years when & was still known as CHI...
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Feb 2016: UK supermarket Sainsbury's bid for general merchandise chain Argos was potentially derailed by a rival bid from South African group Steinhoff, which already has a strong presence in the UK through furniture retailers Harveys and Bensons For Beds, and recently acquired French chain Conforama. As a result, Steinhoff is now the world's second largest furniture retailer after Ikea. It has offered 175p in cash for Argos parent Home Retail Group, trumping Sainsbury's 161p cash-and-shares bid. The British chain has been given an additional three weeks to submit a revised proposal.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Feb 2016: Sainsbury's sealed a deal to acquire Home Retail Group, the parent to general merchandise and catalogue shopping chain Argos, for £1.3bn in cash and shares. HRG has already accepted a separate offer for its other division, the DIY retailer Homebase, from Wesfarmers of Australia. The deal will greatly strengthen Sainsbury's existing online and home delivery business, and the combined company would be bigger in the non-food market than John Lewis or Amazon.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jan 2016: Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers confirmed the acquisition of UK-based DIY and gardening chain Homebase for £340m. It will become a local partner to the group's Australian business Bunnings, the leading Ozzie home improvement chain. Wesfarmers is expected to phase out the Homebase name in favour of the Bunnings brand. The announcement coincided with related news from Wesfarmers' domestic rival Woolworths, which said it is pulling the plug on its own struggling DIY chain Masters, a joint venture with America's Lowe's. The sale of Homebase also significantly boosts Sainsbury's chances in its pursuit of Homebase's sister chain within Home Retail Group, Argos.
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