TVs, gaming and gadgets drive Dixons Carphone's Christmas sales rise

A sign displays the logo of Dixons Carphone at the company headquarters in London
James Davey
·2 min read

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) - Electricals sales at British retailer Dixons Carphone rose 11% in the Christmas trading period as customers in COVID-19 lockdown splashed out online on large screen TVs, computers, gaming, smart tech and food preparation gadgets.

The group, which trades as Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse in the United Kingdom, said an 118% jump in online sales more than offset the forced closure of stores.

"Despite the myriad challenges thrown our colleagues' way we've put in a strong performance and we've done it by winning online," CEO Alex Baldock told reporters.

While its shops have been closed during lockdowns, Dixons Carphone has benefited from people working from home and buying equipment for their houses.

However, the outcome for the 10 weeks to Jan. 9 did represent a slowdown from growth of 17% in its first half.

That and the lack of an upgrade to the group's full year profit outlook sent its shares down 1.9% by 0958 GMT, extending losses over the last year to 21%.

The group said UK & Ireland like-for-like revenue was up 8% over the 10 weeks, while international like-for-like sales rose 14%.

Baldock highlighted particularly strong sales of coffee machines.

"People seemed to have wanted the takeaway coffee experience at home," he said.

He said the group was preparing for UK stores to be closed until the end of April, but hoped it would be sooner.

The British government is due to review England's lockdown in mid-February.

Revenue at the group's UK & Ireland mobile phone division, which is being restructured, fell 40% over the 10 weeks, reflecting a decision in March to close standalone Carphone Warehouse stores.

Dixons Carphone forecast full-year 2020-21 profit in line with market expectations.

Analysts were forecasting a pretax profit of 147 million pounds ($201 million) on average prior to Wednesday's update, down from 166 million made in 2019-20.

The group also said Bruce Marsh, Tesco's UK and Ireland finance director, will succeed Jonny Mason as finance chief in July.

Baldock said Mason's exit was "an amicable and planned succession."

($1 = 0.7322 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)