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Dixons like-for-like sales up 7pc in quarter as new boss finds feet

LIKE-for-like sales at Dixons stores in the UK and Ireland rose 7pc in the company's last quarter, the owner of PC World and Currys said yesterday.

Dixons has kept up the pressure on its rivals by posting a further improvement in sales figures at its UK and Ireland business. The company, which has benefited from the challenges faced by competitors Comet and Argos, said the robust UK and Ireland performance has helped limit the impact of the eurozone crisis on its southern European arm. Wider group underlying sales were 5pc higher in the 12 weeks to July 21. Sales in northern Europe jumped by 13pc.

Dixons said the launch of the Windows 8 operating system and new products in the run-up to Christmas should benefit the business.

Shares have increased by two-thirds since the start of 2012 after a sales turnaround earlier this year, boosted by strong demand for iPads and Kindle devices and the digital TV switchover in the South.

The figures represent a strong start at the helm for chief executive Sebastian James, who took over when respected boss John Browett joined Apple.

Mr James said: "While it is early in our financial year, I am encouraged by the start we have made across the group. We have had a real boost from a busy summer of events in the UK and our northern European operations continue to go from strength to strength."

The company has also gained from the woes of Comet, whose owner Darty sold it to private equity firm OpCapita for £2, while BestBuy UK also threw in the towel by closing its 10 large out-of-town stores.

The 5pc growth figure was better than the 4pc predicted by many analysts. Panmure Gordon stockbrokers analyst Philip Dorgan said: "Dixons operates in a tough space, but we expect it to continue to be the strongest multi-channel operator." (Additional reporting by Reuters)

Irish Independent