UK-based Home Retail Group (HOME.LON) announced a joint venture with Chinese appliance make Haier (1169.HKG) to launch a low-cost Argos store in Shanghai, the Financial Times reported. Argos distributes low-cost Chinese imports to UK consumers largely through flat-pack shipping. However, Argos’ profits collapsed by 94% in the first half of the year, pushing Home Retail Group’s shares down 17%. The group operates over 1,000 retail outlets with an annual rent of US$866 million. The planned JV will take a different approach, focusing on online shopping and utilizing Haier’s 6,000 existing retail stores as delivery points. This lower cost alternative is hoped to help out Argos’s ailing UK network as well.
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