THE parent company of Currys and PC World has delivered a stronger-than-expected surge in Christmas sales, boosted by “phenomenal” demand for tablet computers and the failure of rival Comet.
Dixons Retail said it sold more than a million tablets in the UK and Ireland during the festive season, shifting five a second in the days before Christmas. Apple iPads made up a third of sales, but it also enjoyed strong demand for Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus models.
The jump came despite administrators for collapsed rival Comet holding a clearance sale during much of the period, and Dixons chief executive Sebastian James said the group is on track to deliver full-year underlying pre-tax profits of between
£75 million and £85m.
On a busy day for trading updates from the retail sector, Dixons said like-for-like sales in the 12 weeks to 5 January were 8 per cent ahead of the same period last year – ahead of the 6 per cent increase that analysts expected.
Following the demise of Comet in November, Dixons took on more than 1,000 of the failed chain’s former employees on a temporary basis over Christmas, and James said 500 of those were now permanent staff.
He added: “We see many opportunities to improve the overall performance of our group through further developments in our service offer for customers, sharing best practice, controlling costs and focusing on multi-channel growth.”
However, despite the strong growth seen in the UK and Ireland, the group suffered a 25 per cent decline in sales at Pixmania, the online electronics business that it took control of last year.
Espirito Santo analyst Caroline Gulliver said Pixmania is expected to rack up losses of more than £30m this year.