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Jungle.com inches to break-even

E-commerce still a costly business

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GUS, parent company of Argos and Jungle.com, has released its interim results, and announced an 11 per cent increase in profit and 7.8 per cent increase in sales to £2.9 billion.

However, in an almost identical statement to its last results announcement in July, it has removed Jungle.com's sales and its Argos Additions Net effort from its e-commerce sales and proudly announced they have trebled over last year.

E-commerce sales for the group - comprising online and digital TV sales from Argos and GUS home shopping catalogues - have risen from £20 million to £65 million.

However Jungle has not reached profitability, despite predictions made by founder Steve Bennett when it was bought that it would be in the black by April 2001. Sales at the online consumer electronics retailer fell three per cent to £27m in the first, but due to staff cuts and cost-cutting, operating profit and margin were increased. Continued costs still saw it make a "small operating loss".

As for Argos Additions, sales were "in line with expectations" at £63 million, but losses increased as the company expanded nationwide.

GUS' chief exec John Peace made no reference to his e-commerce ventures save that the company had invested in several new initiatives. ®

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