Argos chief calls for customer help

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Picture of the Argos logoArgos boss Terry Duddy is asking the coalition Government to do more to help people on lower incomes. The plea comes after parent company Home Retail Group said Argos had seen an 8.6% fall in sales for the 13 weeks until the end of August. Electronic items such as TVs and iPods fell a striking 20%. This is why the economy is so difficult; ideas on how to help it along are so contradictory.

For example, we hear a lot about how people are in too much debt. Before the recession really kicked in the papers were positively screeching about how there were trillions being spent on credit cards, and people couldn't possibly pay it all back.

This was actually quite right as it turned out, there were a lot of defaults, banks realised they'd lent mortgages (let alone credit cards) to people who couldn't pay and as you'll have realised the system came close to collapse.

Now we're not spending enough


The thing is, now we're mostly wise to that one and a load of people are paying their credit cards off rather than running up a larger debt, and sticking to spending money they actually have rather than money they don't.

So demand is falling and the economy is hammered that way instead - and if you own shares in Home Retail Group then this idea of everyone paying their debts before spending any more looks like some sort of disaster.

Dixons, owner of Currys and PC World, has noticed a similar drop-off, although Homebase hasn't because people are working on their houses rather than moving.

So it's bad news for retailers, particularly if like Argos they're targeted at lower income brackets. For all that, there's an old fashioned part of me that thinks it's perfectly reasonable to buy fewer iPods and TVs if you're running short of cash.

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