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Christmas sales robust at Dixons Retail


UK, Ireland sales up, but French sales continue to struggle

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Total sales at Dixons Retail, the owner of Curry’s and PC World, were up 7 percent from last year over the 12 weeks to 5 January, the company said on Thursday.

Like-for-like sales in UK and Ireland rose 8 percent, despite the heavily discounted prices seen at rival Comet which collapsed just before Christmas. However, Dixons' performance in European markets continues to be mixed.

Sales fell 25 percent at Dixons' French online retailer Pixmania. It assumed full control of Pixmania last year in order to turn the business around, but has been forced to write off the bulk value of its investment.

Sales in southern Europe – including Italy and Greece – dipped by 8 percent but remained profitable according to the company, while in northern Europe sales rose 11 percent.

"The single-channel operation Pixmania was disappointing, but we are making good progress in our restructuring plans, which are designed to put the business on a better financial footing," said Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons Retail.

On the whole, the company admitted that while its sales were up, its profit margins were squeezed owing to a change in consumer habits. It added that low-margin tablet computers sold particularly well. The firm currently forecasts full-year profits in the circa of £75 million to £85 million.

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