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Dixons Retail sales strengthened by new iPad and other gadgets

DEMAND for gadgets such as Apple's iPad fuelled sales at Dixons Retail during the final quarter of the year as annual losses narrowed.

Dixons, which owns Currys and PC World, said that the new financial year had got off to a good start, with trends seen in the final quarter of the year - when like-for-like sales increased 5pc - broadly continuing.

Over the year as a whole, like-like-sales for the year fell 3pc to £8.2bn (€10bn), but pre-tax losses narrowed to £118.8m from £224.1m the previous year.

Events such as the earthquake in Japan last year limited the supply of photography products, hurting sales at Pixmania.

Shoppers have been curbing their spending as their incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures. #

Electrical chains have been hurt too by cut-price competition from supermarkets and internet retailers.

But, Dixons has shored up its performance by revamping stores and improving product ranges and customer service.

It has also benefited from the travails of rivals, Comet and Argos, and a switch to digital television in the South East of England as well as the success of Apple's latest iPad.

Dixons said that the launch of the new iPad had "helped grow the overall computing market".

"I am pleased that by focusing our efforts on delighting customers, we have outperformed our competitors and ended the year with positive momentum delivering results at the top end of expectations," said Sebastian James, Dixons chief executive. "Against a tough economic backdrop, we have continued to deliver on a clear plan to transform the business."

Dixons also outlined a three-point plan to drive future growth through a multichannel offering; being a leader in the markets it operates; and leveraging its scale across the group.