Christmas purchases of PCs and TV sets give DSG 8pc sales boost
PC World and Currys stores across the UK sold a television set and computer every two seconds on average over the Christmas shopping period -- helping the chains' owner, DSG International, to report 8pc like-for-like sales growth in the 12 weeks ending January 9.
DSG, which early last year launched a major multimillion pound revamp of its chains in an effort to stem declining sales, said that underlying group sales in the quarter were 11pc higher in sterling terms, but that gross margins were 0.8pc lower as it offered consumers deals in the run up to the festive season.
Chief executive John Browett described the customer response to DSG's Christmas and post-Christmas sales offerings as "better than we expected", but warned of a "tough" 2010 across the UK and the rest of Europe given the economic environment.
Shares in DSG, which has rebranded its Dixons stores as Currys, tumbled more than 6pc to 35p (39c) on Mr Browett's cautious outlook.
Other retailers also warned of a difficult 2010. Shares in Home Retail, which owns Argos, also fell more than 6pc yesterday as it said this year would prove difficult and that sales growth in the industry would be "hard to come by".
Meanwhile, HMV Group replaced the head of its Waterstone's book retailing division after the chain underperformed over the Christmas period.
HMV said that underlying group sales fell 1.2pc in the five weeks ending January 2, and blamed an "unsatisfactory" performance at Waterstone's and bad weather. Its shares fell over 8pc. Shares in Mothercare fell 4.5pc even as it reported a 4.6pc rise in third-quarter sales