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Argos Direct Online Home Shopping Catalogue

"Don't shop for it, Argos it!" Whilst we doubt that people will ever start saying the latter over the former - according to Argos themselves two thirds of the population have an Argos shopping catalogue in their home at any time. That's impressive, but sure enough, I've got two right here! They are part of the Home Retail Group after de-merging from its parent company, GUS plc, in October 2006. This is where the confusion comes in where people still call Additions Direct "Argos-Additions" as that used to be the name of their clothing catalogue before it became just Additions Direct which is now owned by Littlewoods (who have since renamed themselves Very!). Argos do keep increasing their scope and have a separate furniture/homewares catalogue available.

They boast a huge range of over 12,000 goods available online and via their stores. Over the next three years, they plan to open 30 new stores a year and approximately 98% of the UK population now live within 10 miles of one of their cataloguing ventures. Argos was founded in 1973 and is now one of the UK's leading general merchandise retailer with sales of over 4.2 billion between 2005-2006. They have over 680 stores throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland, as well as distribution centres, call centres and its head office in Milton Keynes. They employ over 34,000 people in total. Since it first started, they have established a very strong, trusted brand focused on choice, value and convenience. It is one of the UK's most popular retailers for toys, small electrical appliances and housewares. It is also a leading player in many other markets including DIY and gardening, consumer electronics and furniture. It also has a significant market share in jewellery and sports equipment. They publish two catalogues a year, the spring/summer edition in January and the autumn/winter one in July. They offer a home delivery service through Argos Direct which will deliver any products from the catalogue throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. They also focus on charities and groups that help young people get the best opportunities in life, for better health, education and environment - especially projects that offer support to local communities in the UK and Ireland.

They make it a point to say that their catalogues are recyclable and encourage their customers to find their local authority points and/or collections days for such materials. But, if they simply put a bit more effort into their online search engine then they could seriously make a gesture in this area. As it stands, the search engine can't really find much and the last time I visited (yesterday) more than half of the images were broken. I found myself simply going through the paper catalogue and then typing in the catalogue numbers before ordering ... surely that's not how an online shopping facility should work?

A.K.A.'s - argosstore, argosshop, argosdirect, argosonline, www.argos.com & www.argos.co.uk all of which will get you to their store but be sure to bookmark the actual website itself rather than any variation to avoid complications and confusion in the future. Sadly, they have gone the way of multiple websites when it comes to related products. With electric spare parts from ArgosSpares.co.uk, Gift experiences from ArgosGifts.co.uk, DVDs & CDs from ArgosEntertainment.co.uk and even car insurance comparison with ArgosCompare.co.uk ... seriously!? It seems a little strange, then, that the Argos card information is on the main site.

On the subject of navigation, they do have a search function - but it isn't always as specific as you'd expect if you're using keywords. Catalog numbers (if you know what you want and are just looking to buy it online) work great though. The categories, however, are the same as in the book: Kitchen & Laundry, Home & Furniture, Garden & DIY, Sports & Leisure, Health & Personal Care, Jewellery & Watches, Gifts & Hobbies, Home Entertainment & Sat Nav, Computer & Mobile, Video Games, Photography, Office, PCs & Phones, Toys & Games as well as Nursery but with the added addition of Latest Price Cuts.

The Argos online home shopping website has great value when it comes to sales. If you see an advert on TV about an Argos sale, your book won't tell you much about how the prices are affected. You can either then go in to the store and type numbers in, ring them up or (far easier) go online. I doubt that you'll ever see a deal allowing you to buy gold jewellery at a low enough price that you can melt it down and make a profit, but if you want a digital camera, electric toothbrush or MP3 player with a bit off it might be worth taking a look every so often as the price often fluctuates even without a sale on.

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