Dixons outshines high street rivals as profits grow 15pc

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The owner of PC World and Currys offered some cheer for the embattled sector yesterday as it posted a 15 per cent hike in UK & Ireland profits after a rebound in sales.

Dixons Retail Group, which has outperformed struggling rivals such as Comet and Argos in recent months, said underlying operating profits across UK & Ireland rose to £78.8m in the year to April 28.

It confirmed that the division’s sales turnaround in the final quarter – up 8 per cent amid a full year decline of 4 per cent – had continued into the new financial year.

The robust UK & Ireland performance helped limit the impact of the eurozone crisis on its southern European arm, with wider group underlying pre-tax profits down 17 per cent to £70.8m.

But Dixons signalled more store closures that will reduce the current 557-strong estate in the UK to between 400 and 420 outlets, compared with expectations last year for 450 stores.

In a sign of further pain for the high street, Dixons revealed most of the additional store closures will go from town centre locations.

The group now plans to reduce its high street estate by a further 30 outlets to 40, focusing on a new format of ‘urban toyshops’ that has been showcased in its CurrysPCWorld Black store in the Westfield centre, Stratford.

But Dixons said the closures would be done over a long time frame as leases expire and was not expected to lead to large staff cuts, as it hopes to relocate colleagues to nearby stores or larger superstores and megastores.

Dixons became the latest retailer to thank the launch of Apple’s new iPad tablet computer for helping boost consumer electronics sales.