Dixons group sales hit £3.43bn

International electronic goods retailer, Dixons Retail has reported a 6% year-on-year rise in first half sales; mainly driven by strong growth in its core UK and Ireland division.

The group — which operates the Currys, PC World and Dixons Travel chains — yesterday reported total underlying group sales of £3.43 billion (€4bn) for the six months to the end of October; adding that it is on track to reduce overall costs by £45m in its current financial year and it reached the halfway point in a net cash position of £55.4m, as opposed to a net debt position of £21.9m at the same point last year.

An underlying pre-tax profit of £30.2m marks its first such gain in six years.

The UK and Ireland division — which employs more than 2,460 people across 552 shops — saw “a particularly strong start to the year” with total sales rising by 7% to just under £1.86bn and like-for-like sales up 9%.

Underlying operating profits for the division increased five-fold to £31.4m, from £6.9m at the same point last year. The second quarter, alone, saw the company up sales in the UK and Ireland by 12%, on a year-on-year basis.

The strong performance was partly attributed to the continued benefit of previous competitors exiting the market, most notably Comet in the UK closing at the tail-end of last year. The group operates 36 stores in the Republic at present.

Despite the good first half showing — which also included a 4% increase in sales in its northern European arm and a growth in market share in its Greek business — the group’s management remains cautious.

“We remain cautious about the outlook for consumers in our markets. Very strong trading this time last year, together with the fact that we have now annualised Comet’s exit makes the second half more challenging,” said group chief executive Sebastian James.

“Nevertheless, we have had a great first half and our stores have never looked better — or had better offers for customers,” he added.

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