Owned by Sainsbury’s but without the presence of the supermarket in Ireland, Argos Ireland has lost revenue over the last seven consecutive years as a standalone entity. The general merchandiser was acquired by Sainsbury’s in 2016, and this partnership, with Argos shop-in-shops in Sainsbury’s stores, allowed Argos to keep a shop front open through the pandemic in the UK and sustain its revenues as a result.
The story in Ireland is less favourable; since Sainsbury’s acquisition, Argos has lost shares of the Home market in Ireland, slumping from a 4.6% to a 2.7% share in homewares and furniture between 2016 and 2022. This has occurred as competitors such as EZ Living, IKEA, and Homestore + More have gained shares, and Argos in Ireland has lost favour with consumers.
Online penetration in Ireland falls behind the UK, but Argos’s transactional website in Ireland has long felt neglected, appearing dated, with clunky navigation and underwhelming visuals. During the pandemic, it was harder to transition consumers in Ireland online compared with the UK, and without a physical presence in a grocer, which would have remained open during periods of lockdown (as was the case in the UK), Argos in Ireland suffered.
The answer to Argos’s woes in Ireland might have been to partner with a Sainsbury’s equivalent, but retailer choice is limited, given Tesco is a direct competitor to Sainsbury’s in the UK, as are Aldi and Lidl, and Irish grocer SuperValu does not have the store size to accommodate shop in shops.
Having opened its first Ireland store in 1996, and with a current total of 34 stores, Argos’s departure from the Republic of Ireland in the summer of this year will be a significant gain to other home retailers in the Irish market, benefiting direct competitors such as IKEA, Home store + More, and Jysk.