Dixons sees year profit at top end of forecasts

Thursday 16 May 2013 18.30
Q4 like-for-like sales rose 13% in the UK and Ireland and were up 14% in northern Europe
Q4 like-for-like sales rose 13% in the UK and Ireland and were up 14% in northern Europe

Dixons Retail, Europe's second-biggest electrical goods retailer, said its yearly profit would be at the top end of market expectations.

The firm is benefiting from the demise of competitors and strong demand for tablet computers.

Dixons is home to the Currys and PC World chains in Ireland and Britain, Elkjop in Nordic countries, UniEuro in Italy and Kotsovolos in Greece.

It nudged its outlook higher after reporting sales at stores open over a year up 7% in the fourth quarter to the end of April.

Like-for-like sales rose 13% in the UK and Ireland, where the firm particularly benefited from the demise of rival Comet, and were up 14% in northern Europe.

Those contributions were partially offset by a 5% decline in the southern Europe division, made up of Italy, Greece and Turkey, where market conditions remained "extremely difficult".

Across Europe many retailers are struggling as disposable incomes are squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth, and government austerity measures.

However, Dixons said underlying profit before tax for the 2012-13 year was expected to be at the top end of analysts' forecast range of £75-85m sterling.

''This strong year puts Dixons in the best position it has been in for many years," said chief executive Sebastian James, highlighting the firm's year-end net cash position for the first time in a number of years and progress in the restructuring of the troubled PIXmania business.

"We are enjoying the feeling of a little wind in our sails,'' he added.