Argos Limited

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Description

Argos Limited, trading as Argos, is a British catalogue retailer operating in Great Britain and formerly in Ireland, acquired by Sainsbury's supermarket chain in 2016. It was established in November 1972 and is named after the Greek city of Argos. The company trades both through physical shops and online, with 29 million yearly shop customers, and nearly a billion online visitors per annum. It has also franchised overseas to countries such as China.

History

The company was founded by Richard Tompkins who had previously established Green Shield Stamps in the United Kingdom. He came up with the idea that people could purchase goods from his "Green Shield Gift House" with cash rather than savings stamps. He rebranded the original Green Shield Stamps catalogue shops as Argos beginning in July 1973, the first purpose-built shop opening on the A28 Sturry Road, Canterbury in late 1973. Green Shield House was in Station Road, Edgware.

Argos was launched with thousands of staff, taking £1 million during a week in November. Argos was purchased by BAT Industries in 1979 for £32 million. In 1980, Argos opened its Elizabeth Duke jewellery counter (named after a director's wife) and by 1982, was the United Kingdom's fourth-biggest jewellery retailer. The Elizabeth Duke brand was later phased out, with products sold as "Jewellery and Watches".

The company was demerged from BAT Industries and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1990.

Argos entered the Irish market in 1996.

In April 1998, the company was acquired by GUS plc. In October 2006, it subsequently became part of Home Retail Group which was demerged from its parent company, GUS plc, with effect from 10 October 2006.

In January 2016, the sale of sister company Homebase for £340 million was announced.

In April 2016, Argos' parent Home Retail Group agreed to a £1.4 billion takeover by Sainsbury's, following a bidding war between the supermarket chain and South African conglomerate Steinhoff International. The acquisition was completed on 2 September 2016. A large number of high street and retail park shops were closed, replaced by an Argos outlet in a nearby Sainsbury's shop. When Sainsbury's announced in 2020 the closure of most Argos outlets, it was commented that the closure was an admission that its purchase of Argos had been a mistake; "Sainsbury's management clearly did not know how to run Argos and the plan to transplant into spare store space has not worked. ... Argos and Sainsbury's appealed to very different customer segments with little overlap."

In July 2020, Argos announced that it would be discontinuing production of its printed catalogue after 47 years.

On 5 November 2020, Sainsbury's announced that it would close 420 Argos standalone outlets by March 2024, leaving about 100; with other measures 3,500 Sainsbury's jobs were to be cut and £600m saved.

120 standalone Argos stores permanently closed and moved into the nearest Sainsbury's store. The measures were reported to be due to changing consumer habits and the growth of online shopping.

In July 2022, Include Mx started a petition to pressure Argos into including the gender-neutral title Mx on their online forms. The petition amassed almost 12,000 signatures. In response, the company responded that they wished the process to include the title was "quick and simple", and asked its "customers and colleagues to bear with [it] while this is worked through". However, it was reported by The Retail Bulletin in June 2023 that Argos had not yet added the title to their systems.

On 19 January 2023, it was announced that Argos would cease its operations in the Republic of Ireland, including both its online business and its physical shops, by 24 June 2023.

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Sainsbury's
J Sainsbury plc trading as Sainsbury's is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, with a 16.0% share of the supermarket sector. Founded in 1869, b

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