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Dixons post sales fall over Christmas trading

Gross margins across the group were flat year on year

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Dixons reported a group sales fall of 5 percent over the Christmas trading period but retained gross margins and said it outperformed UK rivals, the electrical goods retailer said on Monday.

Dixons Retail, whose UK brands include Currys and PC World, the sales decline accelerated in the 12 weeks to 7 January, but like-for-like sales in the two weeks to 14 January were up 2 percent. Sales rose 23 percent in the period from 4 January to 14 January.

Gross margins across the group were flat year on year, said Dixons, which also runs Elkjop in Nordic countries, UniEuro in Italy and Kotsovolos in Greece.

The company said the post-Christmas sale period was distorted by the VAT rise last year.

"Consumer confidence in many of our markets remains fragile and we will maintain a cautious approach to the outlook for the year ahead," said chief executive John Browett.

European shoppers have been curbing spending as their disposable incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth, government austerity measures and fears over the impact of the euro zone debt crisis.

Electrical goods chains such as Dixons and European No.1 MediaMarkt Saturn are facing extra pressure from online cut-price retailers and supermarkets.

In October US group Best Buy abandoned plans for a chain of European megastores, while Kesa Electricals effectively paid a bidder to take loss-making chain Comet off its hands.

Shares in Dixons, which have lost 55 percent of their value over the last year, closed Monday at 9.7 pence, valuing the business at £350 million.



Dixons post sales fall over Christmas trading
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