Home Retail Group, a UK-based home and general merchandise retailer, has reported decline in first-half profit while sales picked up due to improved performance by both its Argos and Homebase segments.

For the 26 weeks ended August 31, the company’s pre-tax profit fell to £14.2m, as against £46.7m in corresponding period a year ago.

The chain’s revenue for the period grew 3% to £2.596bn, as compared to last year’s £2.531bn.

Segment-wise, Argos sales in the 26 weeks increased 1.8% year-over-year to £1.72bn, and like-for-like sales grew 2.3%.

The company attributed the sales growth to electrical products, driven by strong growth in tablets and white goods, as well as seasonal products, partly offset by decline in furniture and homewares.

Homebase segment’s total sales increased 4.4% and like-for-like sales rose 5.9% as the seasonal products benefited from the improved weather.

During the period, Home Retail’s total online sales accounted for 43% of Argos’ total sales, with sales generated through smartphones and tablets representing 16% of sales.

Home Retail Group chief executive Terry Duddy said the company is making good progress and is in excellent operational shape while approaching the key Christmas trading period.

"As we look ahead to the second half of the year, we expect consumer spending will remain subdued, and whilst some macroeconomic indicators are improving, these have not yet led to an increase in household disposable income," Duddy added.

Home Retail is an in-store and online retailer of home and general merchandise.

The company offers a wide assortment of white goods, video games, household tools, bathroom fittings, decorative products, office supplies, beds, sports equipment, audio accessories, gardening equipment, garden furniture, home enhancement products and other related merchandise.

As of March 2013, the company operated a total of 1,073 stores under Argos and Homebase formats spread across the UK and Republic of Ireland offering a range of over 67,000 products.