Ireland to escape Carphone Warehouse closure axe

Geoff Percival

Ireland will not be affected by the decision to close more than 90 Carphone Warehouse shops this year.

Electrical goods group Dixons-Carphone is to close 92 stores this year in a cost-cutting drive and has also warned that its current financial year which is less than a month old will see profits fall over 20%.

The group said it expects still to be reported annual pre-tax profits for its just completed financial year to the end of April to amount to £382m (€438m), but said it expects profits for the just commenced year to drop 21.5% to £300m.

Dixons-Carphone operates under the PC World, Currys, Dixons Travel, and Carphone Warehouse retail brands.

It has 80 Carphone Warehouse stores in Ireland, but none of these will be affected by the closure plans which solely affect the UK.

The company is actually looking to continue expanding its ‘three brands under one roof’ store plan in Ireland later in the summer.

A spokesperson said the Irish operations had a record financial year with more market share in all categories from televisions and computing to mobile phones and white goods. Sales here between November’s Black Friday discount day and new year were the highest on record, up 12%.

“The business here in Ireland is performing in line with expectations and investment is ongoing in the store network,” said Dixons-Carphone Ireland managing director Mark Delaney.

Earlier this year, Dixons-Carphone quit the Irish mobile communications market with a liquidator appointed to wind down its iD Mobile business here after no buyer emerged for the under-performing unit which operated on the Three network. The entire group’s new chief executive Alex Baldock is behind the UK store closure plans.

Dixons-Carphone’s mobile phone shops have been suffering as customers upgrade their phones less regularly and decide not to take on long-term phone contracts. The company said it expected the market to contract.

That comes at a time when many British store groups are suffering as disposable incomes are squeezed and shoppers spend more online. Marks and Spencer, New Look, Mothercare, Carpetright and House of Fraser are all shutting stores.

The UK market accounts for about 60% of Dixons-Carphone revenues. The company was more optimistic about its international markets, including the Nordics, Spain and Greece, saying it expected continued growth in profits there.

In the fourth quarter of its just-completed year, Dixons-Carphone said like-for-like revenue in its core UK and Ireland division was up 1% and rose 2% for the year. The company’s share price sank more than 20% yesterday.

The company also said rising staffing costs would impact profit, but is looking to redeploy all employees affected by the Carphone closures.

Additional reporting Reuters

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