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Dixons benefits from Comet’s demise

The owner of PC World and Currys reported a bigger-than-expected surge in Christmas sales, boosted by the demise of rival Comet.

Dixons Retail said like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland were up eight per cent in the 12 weeks to January 5, despite administrators for the failed retailer holding a clearance sale for the vast bulk of the period.

The group said sales of tablet computers were “phenomenal”, with more than a million sold in the UK and Ireland over the period, with five a second in the week before Christmas.

Apple iPads made up a third of tablet sales, but it also had strong demand for the Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus models.

Chief executive Sebastian James believed the group gained many new customers from Comet, prompting it to take on 500 permanent staff from the failed chain.

More than 1,000 of its temporary Christmas staff came from Comet after it went into administration in November.

But the group warned that margins were down 0.5 per cent in the period, with the mark-up on tablet computers lower than on laptops.

However Dixons said it expected underlying profits for the year to be in line with market expectations of between £75m and £85m.

 

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