Britain's Home Retail Group said first-half profit had jumped by half after a hot summer helped its DIY chain Homebase to its best performance in a decade.
Its Argos chain also benefited from growing online demand via mobile devices.
The group said today that underlying pretax profit for the six months to August 31 had risen 53% compared with the same time a year ago, to £27.4m. This was ahead of a company-compiled consensus forecast of £23.6m.
After five years of profit decline in a row, Home Retail is implementing a turnaround plan.
It is revamping its Homebase stores and reinventing household goods retailer Argos from a catalogue-led to digitally-led business, targeting a 15% rise in sales to £4.5 billion by 2018, up from £3.9 billion in 2011/12.
Group revenue rose 3% to £2.6 billion in the six month period, helped by a strong summer of garden furniture and barbecue sales at Homebase, where like-for-like sales grew 5.9%, its best performance since its acquisition in 2002.
At Argos, which makes around 70% of group revenue, underlying sales rose 2.3% in the half, led by demand for tablets and home electrical appliances.
Internet sales increased to 43% of total sales at Argos, the firm said, with mobile commerce more than doubling to now account for 16% of sales. That jump was helped in part by new smartphone apps driving more traffic to its website.
"Both Argos and Homebase are making good progress with their investment plans, and remain on track to deliver their long-term strategic objectives," said chief executive Terry Duddy, who announced last month he would quit by next July.
Duddy said that while he expected consumer spending to remain subdued, the firm was in good shape as it approached Christmas.
Ahead of that key trading period Argos has weighed into the competitive tablet market with its own-brand MyTablet, priced at £99.99, undercutting Tesco's recently launched "Hudl" offering by 16% .
The firm declined to provide any early sales details but said the tablet had enjoyed a "good start".