Customer engagement strategy a winner for Dixons
Currys and PC World owner Dixons is still persuading shoppers to splash out on electrical goods despite tough times on the High Street. The firm hailed the impact of improved ranges and customer service as it bucked the prevailing gloom in the retail sector.
The better than expected performance marks a strong start at the helm for chief executive Sebastian James, who took over when respected boss John Browett joined Apple.
Trading trends: Dixons hailed the impact of improved ranges and customer service on sales
Unveiling the latest sales figures, James paid tribute to the contribution of his predecessor at a time of major upheaval.
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.'
Dixons' sales rose 8 per cent on a like-for-like store basis in the UK and Ireland in the 16 weeks to April 28.
And the group, 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 £65million and £70million.
While there was a strong end to the financial year in the UK and the Nordic region, Dixons admitted its businesses in southern Europe were impacted by the economic crisis there.
Like-for-like sales were down 9 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 whole group were 3 per cent lower, with the figure down by 4 per cent in the UK and Ireland.
The shares were up 0.19p at 17.69p in mid-afternoon trading.
'With its many customer-focused initiatives supported by strong cash management, Dixons is set to be a long-term winner in our view, despite short-term uncertainties,' said David Jeary of asset manager Investec.
'The strength of fourth quarter trading in both Nordics and UK & Ireland clearly underlines the success of the initiatives under the Renewal & Transformation plan and the KNOWHOW service proposition, which are translating into market share gains.'
He said that despite the unsurprising weakness in southern Europe, Investec maintained its buy recommendation on Dixons.