Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone has today reported a jump in first half profit, benefiting from a strong online performance that more than offset the closure of stores during Covid-19 lockdowns, sending its shares sharply higher. 

The group trades as Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse in the UK.

Its shares were up 15% this morning after it reported adjusted pretax profit of £89m in the six months to October 31 compared to just £2m the same time last year. 

While its shops in the UK, Ireland and Greece were closed during lockdowns, Dixons Carphone has benefited from people working from home and buying equipment for their houses. 

Like-for-like sales of electricals increased 17%, with online sales soaring 114% to £1.8 billion. 

The group estimated a profit hit from store restrictions since the start of the pandemic of £155m - more than the £103m received in furlough payments and business rates relief. 

Several British retailers, whose stores have stayed open during lockdowns, have paid back the relief, but Dixons Carphone CEO Alex Baldock indicated it would not. 

"We were tagged non-essential (by government) and our stores were closed which obviously puts us in a different space to some," he told reporters. 

Baldock also said the company was seeing some supply delays due to current disruption at British ports.

But he added he was confident it would cope when Britain's Brexit transition period with the EU ends on December 31 whether or not a trade deal is sealed. 

The group, which makes most of its annual profit in the second half, said the outlook remained uncertain but that trading was strong in the six weeks to December 12, with electricals like-for-like sales up 16%. 

Revenue at the group's mobile phone division, which is being restructured, fell 54%, reflecting a decision in March to close standalone Carphone Warehouse stores. 

The group said it was continuing to discuss the possibility of listing a minority stake in its Nordics business in 2021.