Irish division bucks Dixons-Carphone downward profit trend

The Irish arm of electronic goods and mobile phone retail giant Dixons-Carphone grew sales by almost 11% last year. That result outperformed the Irish market and provided upside to the UK group which saw total yearly profits slump by 22% and revenue fall 1% to £10.4bn (€12bn).

Dixons Carphone shares pared back losses to close down 5%, but initially fell 28% to a 10-year low after the group said profit for this year would also disappoint and be nearly a third lower than market expectations. The group actually reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £259m, reflecting charges of £557m, primarily non-cash impairments relating to the changing UK mobile market that were detailed in December.

The company also cut its full year dividend to 6.75 pence from 11.25 pence last year, and forecast a flat payment for 2019-20. Dixons Carphone has been damaged by a shift in the mobile phone market as customers keep their handsets for longer, choose cheaper SIM-only deals, and turn to more flexible credit-based offers.

Group chief executive Alex Baldock, who joined Dixons Carphone in April 2018 and launched a turnaround plan in December, said the mobile market was changing faster than management had anticipated, requiring it to speed up its response.

However, the group's Irish division - which covers the Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse brands and has profited from its three brands-in-one shop promotion - has increased market share in all sales categories including televisions, computing, mobile phones and white goods.

Irish sales growth, for last year, was driven by demand for high-end technology products like smart TVs and premium-branded kitchen appliances.

"Our continued success in the Irish market is driven by the breadth of our product range, our relentless focus on customer service and the continued demand from consumers for better quality and more technologically-advanced products," said Dixons-Carphone Ireland managing director Mark Delaney.

Mr Delaney said an overhaul of the Irish Currys website has doubled online sales and continued investment is being made in the Irish store network.

"We will be launching a new superstore in Sligo later in the year, and we will continue to invest heavily in our online business as we continue to cement our position as Ireland's leading electrical and technology retailer," he said.

Mr Delaney said he is expecting 2019 to deliver further record sales for the Irish business.

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