CURRYS and PC World parent company Dixons Retail yesterday said it was taking action to address “challenging” trading at Pixmania, the online electricals retailer that it took full control of last month.
Like-for-like sales at the division, which operates across 26 countries, fell 3 per cent in the 12 weeks to 21 July, compared with 7 per cent growth at the group’s UK and Ireland business. Dixons paid around £185 million for a 77 per cent stake in Paris-based Pixmania in 2006, before buying a further 22 per cent last month from the founding Rosenblum family for just £8m.
Chief executive Sebastian James said: “I am pleased that we now have day-to-day control of Pixmania allowing us to take the decisive actions necessary to improve its performance.”
Espirito Santo analyst Caroline Gulliver said the division, along with the group’s southern European business, was a “problem child” that is likely to rack up losses of around £20m this year “but this should not be a perennial problem”.
Sales at Dixons’ operations in Greece, Italy and Turkey fell 10 per cent on a like-for-like basis – in sharp contrast to the performance across the Nordic region and central Europe, where sales jumped 13 per cent.
Despite expressing caution over the outlook, James said the group was well placed for the back-to-school period and should receive a boost from the launch of the Window 8 operating system and other new products in the run-up to Christmas.
Seymour Pierce analyst Kate Calvert said Dixons should continue to benefit from a weakening performance at rival Comet, which was sold by Kesa Electricals earlier this year.
New owner OpCapita, a turnaround specialist, also bought video game retailer Game out of administration.
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