Sunday 26 February 2017

Sales at Dixons return to growth in the Irish market

But retailer says confidence of consumers remains very fragile

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

THE Irish operations of retailer Dixons -- which include Currys and PC World -- have returned to positive like-for-like sales growth, with an improving margin performance in the second quarter.

Releasing first-half figures yesterday, Dixons Retail nevertheless warned that conditions here remained challenging. The company also said that news of developments in the economy over recent weeks had dampened consumer confidence.

Shares in the retailer fell as markets opened yesterday after it reported flat revenue of £3.35bn (€3.96bn), 2pc behind analyst expectations. Its underlying pre-tax loss for the period was £7.9m (€9.3m).

That was better than the £8.8m loss that had been expected by analysts. The company traditionally makes all of its profits in the second half of its financial year.

Group like-for-like sales rose 1pc in the first six months of the financial year, while like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland edged 2pc higher to £1.61bn in the period.

Total sales in the Ireland-UK region were 1pc lower, however. In the Nordic region, like-for-like sales were 1pc higher. Sales via its website declined.

Ireland

Dixons noted that its operations in Ireland and the UK had a strong start to the trading year as television sales boosted market share, while the launch of Apple's iPad also helped drive momentum.

However, TV sales fell once the World Cup had ended and consumers currently remained cautious, it said.

Dixons has been airing well-received adverts featuring the C-3PO and R2-D2 characters from the Star Wars movie franchise in the run-up to Christmas.

It said the ads should position its new megastores well for the important trading season.

The group operates about 30 PC World and Currys stores in Ireland. It said seven of these had now been refitted and were showing similar gross profit uplifts to those experienced in the UK.

Chief executive John Browett said he expected sales of 3D televisions and Apple products to be strong for Christmas, but was unsure how sales of these items would cannibalise other categories.

Shares in the retailer closed down 0.3pc at 26.51p.

Irish Independent

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