Dixons Retail offloads troubled Pixmania arm

Kasmira Jefford
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DIXONS Retail is to sell its loss-making French business Pixmania to German industrial conglomerate Mutares, a year after taking control of the business.

The electronics chain said yesterday it will provide Mutares with a dowry of €69m (£58m), which will be ringfenced to help turn the business around.

The deal, which will take around four months to complete, was announced alongside the sale of its Turkish business to a larger local rival ElectroWorld.

Shares rose almost six per cent yesterday as the City welcomed the disposal of the two troubled units.

Pixmania, which operates in France and the Czech Republic, saw underlying sales slump 28 per cent in the first quarter and has been dragging down the performance of the wider group.

Chief executive Sebastian James said: “Pixmania operates in countries where we’re not market leader and operates a [single channel] model that is not ours. I don’t think we’re particularly good at running that kind of business.”

“We do best when we stick to our knitting,” he added.

James was speaking as Dixons Retail reported a two per cent jump in first quarter like-for-like sales.

He explained: “Despite a July that was sizzling in the north and chilly in the south (affecting electronics and air conditioning sales respectively for that month) we have had an encouraging start to the year.”

In the UK, where the group has benefitted from the demise of rival Comet, like-for-like sales jumped by six per cent, boosted by customers buying cameras and memory cards ahead of their holidays.