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Argos TV channel launching on Sky

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Argos
Catalogue retailer Argos is to launch its own shopping channel on satellite as the firm searches for new routes to market amid a "significant decline" in sales.

Argos TV will start broadcasting tonight at 7pm on Sky channel 642, enabling customers to "explore the benefits of products in more depth than traditional print or online channels".

Home Retail Group, owners of Argos and fellow retailer Homebase, has leased the Sky channel slot from shopping network JML for 12 months to trail the channel.

The retail company said that Argos TV will "initially" just be available on Sky, but could extend to other platforms should it prove a success.

Announcing the channel back in March, Argos managing director Sara Weller said: "The launch of our new TV channel will see us really delivering on our commitment to offer our customers a whole range of convenient ways to shop with Argos.

"Our most recent catalogue launch in January was the first to fully integrate our growing Twitter and Facebook communities, where customers can access our products, share ideas and discover lots of engaging content.

"Our ability to connect between channels means that the content we will be producing for Argos TV will also have wider potential applications online and in store, adding further to customer choice, value and convenience."

The launch of Argos TV comes after the retailer reported a 9.6% slump in sales in the first quarter of 2011, with total sales - including newly-opened stores - down by 8.1% to £817m.

Home Retail Group said that Argos's poor performance was due to a 20% fall in the consumer electronics market, which accounts for almost half of its business.

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