Consumers taking the tablets at Carphone

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Carphone Warehouse yesterday became the latest retailer to benefit from the boom in demand for tablet computers and smartphones as it posted a 16 per cent leap in UK sales.

But the group admitted the hike had come at the expense of profit margins after launching a raft of cut-price deals and bundle offers in the quarter to December 31.

It trimmed the top end of its earnings guidance, forecasting between £135m to £145m from £130m to £150m previously, as it now expects margins to be around 2 per cent lower over the full year.

The group, which has more than 2,400 stores in its European joint venture with US group Best Buy, said it was following a “clear strategy” to drive sales higher.

Carphone notched up an 8 per cent share of the tablet market during peak trading and said non-mobile phone sales accounted for around 9 per cent of all retail revenues in the quarter.

A raft of retailers were boosted over Christmas by soaring demand for tablets, with PC World and Curry’s parent Dixons Retail reporting a bigger-than-expected 8 per cent jump in UK and Ireland sales due largely to “phenomenal” sales of the computers.

Catalogue chain Argos also thanked tablet sales for a 2.7 per cent rise in festive sales.

Roger Taylor, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse Group, said he was “delighted” with the performance.

“This reflects extremely well on our team and on our policy of investing in our proposition to give our customers compelling offers on smartphones and tablets, accepting some margin investment,” he added.

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