Dixons Retail, Europe's second biggest electricals retailer, posted a rise in sales in the key Christmas trading period, gaining market share from rivals, though it cautioned that growth would slow.

The group is home to the Currys and PC World chains in Ireland and the UK, Elkjop in Nordic countries and Kotsovolos in Greece.

It said that group sales at stores open over a year rose 3% in the November 1 to January 4 period, driven by sales of tablet computers, kitchen gadgets and big screen televisions. That compares with first half growth of 6%.
Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose 5%, helped by a particularly strong post-Christmas sale, and were up 2% in northern Europe.

But sales in Greece on the same basis were down 8%.

The company noted that more than £100,000 of sales went through its tills every minute on December 26 - a record for the group.

"We have some very strong comparables in the fourth quarter and, with a later Easter as well, I expect performance in the remainder of our financial year to be more modest than the year to date," chief executive Seb James said.

He added that the UK's economic recovery was still in its "fledgling" stage.              

Across Europe many store groups are still struggling as government efforts to bring down national debts reduce consumers' disposable incomes. Electrical retailers have been particularly exposed because they sell discretionary goods and face intense competition from supermarkets and internet players like Amazon and eBay.
In Britain, Dixons' biggest market, the retailer has benefited from a tablets boom, as well as the demise of major rival Comet in 2012 and problems at Jessops and HMV. It has also been cutting costs, revamping stores and seeking to improve products, prices and customer service.
Shares in Dixons, which trails Metro's Media-Saturn by annual sales, have increased 85% over the last year as it has increasingly focused on markets where it has a leading "multi-channel" position with a combined stores and internet business.
Over the last six months the firm has offloaded the loss-making e-commerce business PIXmania and operations in Turkey and partially exited Italy.