By Daniel Hunter

Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, has reported a 32% rise in annual profits.

The group posted profits of £93.8m for the year, with total sales rising 1% to £5.71bn. Argos' underlying sales were up 0.6% and it said that online now accounts for 46% of its sales.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, were up 2.3% at Homebase. And Home Retail Group said it was making "good progress" on plans to reduce the number of Homebase stores by a quarter by 2019.

John Walden, chief executive of Home Retail Group, said: "Both Argos and Homebase contributed positive like-for-like sales and profit growth for the second successive year.

"I believe the strategic plans we are pursuing across the Group will enable us to innovate and lead in a rapidly changing retail market."