We’re Going to Plan Cautiously in the U.K.: Walden

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April 30 (Bloomberg) –- Home Retail Group CEO John Walden discusses the company’s earnings, the U.K. housing market and Argos’ transformation with Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television’s “Countdown.” (Source: Bloomberg)

One aspect of your statement that leapt out at me was the line that said that you are still assuming a subdued consumer environment.

This surprised me.

Given the earnings and the improved sales, given data from the brc which showed that consumer confidence was at a seven-year high.

Why are you being cautious with your outlook?

We are in a lot of markets with almost 1100 stores across the whole of the u.k. we are a pretty broad based retailer.

Until we start to see this across the broad markets we are in and the categories we are in, we are hesitant to get too excited.

Do you think we are close to seeing that improvement or witnessing the pull through between the confidence and the spending habits by your customers?

That is what we are looking forward.

We are starting to see some impact of housing.

So many of their categories, diy, big ticket rooms, they are related to the housing market.

Generally we see a bit of a lag.

We started to see some benefit in southeast england.

We have not started to see the benefits of the improved data metrics across the rest of their stores.

Doesn't worry that the improvement that you are starting to see might not see it through?

They are worrying that a bubble is forming and the bank of angle and could take measures to bring down that bubble?

I know the rest of the country is different to the southeast.

How are you reading the housing market as a whole in the u.k.? we will plan cautiously.

It is difficult for us to have confidence in one direction or another.

We are happy with the confidence and the recent indicators.

We will continue to plan cautiously in the southeast and the rest of the u.k. this represents 72% of your sales.

How is the five-year transformation plan progressing?

This is the plan to reinvent yourself as the digital retail leader.

But it is very good.

We are very happy with the performance of cross last year.

We reported our seventh consecutive positive quarter.

We are making good impact and progress on our transformation plans in the area of digital experiences and the area of new stores.

We have a new digital concept store.

A lot of work and fulfillment options whether it is home delivery options.

Really good work on our brands including work on our own brands.

We are making really good progress i naturally and against the strategic land.

We are happy about the way that it fits.

We have a good shot at meeting our long-term financial goals.

Give me an idea of this agile concepts stored.

It seems to be going well.

Look ahead 3, 4, 5, even 10 years.

What is the argos store going to look like when the consumer -- what the consumer expects seems to be changing at such a quick pace right now?

It is changing at a quick pace.

The digital concept stores, our current view of what a store might look like in the digital future.

It assumes that the digital channels are the primary way we interface with customers.

We will offer to customers very large ranges.

We will have them home delivered in a very short time cycle.

The stores are modern.

They are cleaner.

We have replaced the paper and pens with tablets that allow customers to experience a different version.

The cues are easier.

The product is plays are flexible.

This is the point of product selection and customer service, not as places for customers to spend a lot of time and consider.

That represents a good model for a digital future.

Our customers seem to think so, too.

We have had really positive customer response to those stores.

We have plans to extend that across other parts of the u.k. you have barely than a month or so.

What is the biggest challenge that you face heading up home ringtail -- retail right now?

The biggest challenge is trying to anticipate customer behavior changes.

Iam am new to the role.

I have been the m.d. of argos for more than two years.

I will spend some time understanding my new responsibilities, ensuring the continued success of argos.

We need to do a good job with that and have the new store be successful.

Then i need to consider and learn about the current group strategy and structure and learn about its priorities.

That is what i will spend the next several months on.

I am optimistic about the future of home retail.

I am optimistic about the work that we will have to do.

Good to talk to you for the

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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