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Dixons B2B unit still challenged but losses fall

Microscope contributor

Dixons Retail dramatically cut losses in the first half of the year but made scant reference to its B2B resale operations, saying they continued to be "weak".

In the 24 weeks to 16 October, group sales were flat at £3.35bn but losses fell from £17.6m in the same period a year ago to £7.9m.

"We remain cautious on the economic outlook across many of our markets, as consumer confidence remains low," said Dixons Retail chief executive John Browett.

"However, we have maintained our momentum in transforming the group and are performing ahead of the market," he added.

Sales at the UK and Ireland business unit which includes Currys and PC World grew 2% on a like-for-like basis to £1.6bn but fell 1% when DSGi Business and the Tech Guys numbers were factored into the equation, "with B2B continuing to be weak".

Underlying operating losses in the homeland business were "significantly reduced" to £10.7m, down from £16m.

The World Cup and the launch of the iPad helped pushed sales upwards in Q1 but "the trading environment remained challenging across the second quarter" although the group said Currys and PC World "continue to trade ahead of the market".

Dixons said it used the quieter trading environment to step up its Renewal and Transformation programme with 250 refitted stores operational across the UK, and it expects 60% of pre-Christmas revenues from these.

Business in the Nordics grew 1% on a like-for-like basis to £860m, while other International operations - Italy, Greece, Spain, Czech Republic and Turkey - declined 4% to £563.5m and e-commerce sales were flat at £310m.

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