Dixons Carphone beats forecasts for Christmas trading

Retailer said online sales rose in Ireland over festive period

Retailer Dixons Carphone beat forecasts for trading in its key Christmas quarter and kept its profit outlook for the full year, as online sales rose.

The firm, which trades as Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse in Britain and Ireland, Elkjop and Elgiganten in Nordic countries and Kotsovolos in Greece, said sales at stores open over a year rose 4 per cent in the 10 weeks to January 7th. That compared with analysts' consensus forecast of a rise of 2.5 per cent and a first half increase of 4 per cent.

“We believe that we have outperformed the market during the period,” said chief executive Seb James, adding he was looking forward to another year of growth.

Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose 6 percent versus analysts’ consensus forecast of 3.5 per cent growth.


Fitness devices

The company said online sales, footfall and device sales rose in its Irish market, with consumers opting for items such as smart fitness watches and bands and action camcorders. It also reported a rise in the purchase of larger value items, such as large screen TVs.

Underlying sales increased 5 per cent in the southern Europe division but fell 1 per cent in the Nordics, where the firm focused on optimising profit margins.

Dixons Carphone forecast a 2016-17 underlying pretax profit of £475-£495 million (€552-€575 million), up from £447 million in 2015-2016.

Though the firm has had a strong run of trading statements over the last year, its shares have still fallen 28 per cent, reflecting its exposure to high-cost goods and perceived vulnerability to any consumer spending squeeze this year.

Last month, Dixons Carphone reported a 19 per cent rise in first-half profit, but said it was planning for the possibility of more uncertain times ahead.

The stock closed Monday at 336 pence, valuing the business at £3.8 billion.