Currys and PC World owner Dixons Retail bucked the gloom in UK retail today by revealing a bigger-than-expected surge in sales.
The group pointed to the impact of improved ranges and service as sales rose eight per cent on a like-for-like basis in the UK and Ireland in the 16 weeks to April 28.
Dixons, which has around 640 stores in the UK and Ireland as well as outlets across Europe, now expects profits for the year to last month will be near the top end of City expectations at between £65m and £70m.
It represents a strong start at the helm for chief executive Sebastian James, who took over when respected boss John Browett joined Apple in the United States.
Unveiling the better-than-expected performance, Mr James paid tribute to the contribution of his predecessor at a time of major upheaval in the sector.
He said: “We have made significant strides in the way we operate over the last four years and we know that we have a clear role, shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers as we help them to navigate the increasingly complex world of technology.”
While there was a strong end to the financial year in the UK and the Nordic region, Dixons said its businesses in southern Europe were impacted by the economic crisis there. Like-for-like sales were down nine per cent in the region, compared with a 10 per cent rise in northern Europe.
Across the financial year, like-for-like sales for the group were three per cent lower, with the figure down by four per cent in the UK and Ireland.