Dixons set to benefit from Comet’s demise as losses narrow

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Electricals group Dixons Retail today said its sales may take a temporary hit as stricken rival Comet offloads its stock, but it is poised to benefit over the long term.

Administrators for Comet announced yesterday that a further 125 stores are to close, leaving just 70 branches open until all remaining stock is sold.

Dixons, which owns the Currys and PC World chains, said today: “While there may be some disruption while Comet completes the ‘fire-sale’ of its stock in the short term, Currys and PC World will benefit from the consolidation and we look forward to re-investing further gains into the offer for customers.”

The group posted an underlying pre-tax loss of £22.2 million for 24 weeks to 13 October, down from £25.3m for the same period last year, although sales were flat at £3.3 billion.

Dixons has around 500 stores across the UK, but is closing outlets as part of an overhaul that will reduce its estate to between 400 and 420 outlets. Since the beginning of the financial year, it has closed 42 branches.

Chief executive Sebastian James said he was “particularly encouraged” by the group’s performance in the UK, Ireland and northern Europe. Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose 3 per cent in the first half, compared with a 9 per cent decline across the southern European countries of Greece, Italy and Turkey.

He added: “While August and September were, as expected, a bit quieter, we remain cautiously optimistic about the outlook.”