Dixons Retail has published trading results for the 16, 28 and 52 weeks ending 28 April 2012, showing sales down but better than expected, writes Linda Endersby.
Although total group sales were down 3% over the year the period had a positive end with like for like sales up 5% in the final quarter. The UK and Ireland sector was a major contributor with like-for-like sales in the final quarter up 8%, though UK gross margins were flat over the year as expected.
"Our overall Group performance across the year has been slightly better than we anticipated," commented Sebastian James, chief exec.
"We saw a strong end to the year particularly in the UK and it is good to see the work that we have been doing to improve the ranging and service bearing fruit as more customers are choosing us over our competitors."
The group showed particularly strong growth in the multi channel with sales up 30% in the second half of the year bringing the year total figure up by 16% and internet sales representing 18% of total group sales.
"We are seeing the benefits through our growing market shares and significantly improving customer satisfaction scores," added James, "We are never satisfied that we are good enough though, and remain determined to make our business better, every single day, for our customers. By doing this we are confident that we will deliver a multi-channel business that is sustainable in a world where consumer shopping behaviours are constantly evolving."
The group's subsidiary PIXmania had its financial performance particularly impacted this year by supply issues following natural disasters, consumer declines in core markets and transition to a new operating model.
James concluded: "The consumer environment remains uncertain in many of our markets and we continue to plan cautiously and manage costs aggressively. Overall, though, our business is in a strong position for the year ahead and we are looking forward to an exciting summer of sporting activities and celebrations."
Full year underlying profit before tax for the group is expected to be at the top end of predictions at between £65m to £70m but the group will announce preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 28 April 2012 on 21 June 2012.