Shares in electrical retail giant Dixons jumped nearly 11pc yesterday as gross margins in its UK home market improved even as overall sales declined.
The company, which operates the PC World and Currys chains in Ireland and the UK, said that total underlying group sales in the 12 weeks until January 7, fell five percent.
But the retailer said that its performance over the Christmas period beat that of rivals as it sold more televisions, Kindles, iPads and headphones.
Sales at its Irish and UK outlets open at least a year still fell 7pc, however.
That was a slower rate of decline than the 8pc drop recorded by the group in the first half of its financial year.
Dixons sold a Kindle -- the electronic reading device -- every three seconds over the Christmas trading season, it said. About 19pc of its sales were generated online.
Chief executive John Browett described the performance as "solid". He had been betting on revamped and bigger stores to lure customers.
"It is obviously helpful that we had some competitors withdraw from the UK market or who are in serious trouble," he said.
US retailer Best Buy, which had teamed up with Carphone Warehouse to prepare on onslaught into the UK market, pulled out of the market last November.
Mr Browett also said Dixons had competed effectively with online rivals such as Amazon.
"Our pricing is very competitive. Customers really want to buy from a store where they can get help and advice and also someone to look after them when something goes wrong," he added.
He said the 2012 London Olympics provide some optimism for the group, but that it generally remains cautious regarding consumer sentiment.
Analysts said the performance over Christmas was strong given the current environment.