Argos is a British retailer operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland with over 737 stores. Argos is also one of the largest high street online retailers in the UK. According to the company, about 96% of the population in the UK were within 10 miles of an Argos store. Argos forms part of the Home Retail Group and owns several electronic brands including Alba and Bush, and Chad Valley among many others.
The company was founded by Richard Tompkins, who had also founded Green Shield Stamps in the UK. Richard Tompkins came up with the idea that customers could purchase goods with cash instead of saving stamps from his “Green Shield Gift House”, and hence the Green Shield Stamps catalogue shops were rebranded as Argos. The first Argos store was opened in Canterbury in late 1973.
In 1979, Argos was purchased by BAT Industries for £32 million, and the following year the company opened a jewellery counter named Elizabeth Duke (named after a director’s wife). The jewellery store became the fourth largest jewellery retailer in the United Kingdom just within two years of its opening. However, Elizabeth Duke has been phased out and replaced with the “Jewellery and Watches” brand.
In 1990, Argos was demerged from BAT Industries and was listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 1998, GUS plc acquired the company and it subsequently became part of the Home Retail Group. Argos is the registered owner of several brands like; Challenge, Visiq, Pro Action, Beanstalk, Cookworks, Grosvenor, Pro Fitness, Aquarius, Opticom, Steamworks, Coolworks, Acoustic Solutions and Mega Games.