Carphone gets a boost from iPhone rush

SHARES in Carphone Warehouse lifted yesterday after the company said that first quarter trading was in-line with expectations, and that revenues in its retail business had been boosted by the popularity of the iPhone.<br /><br />Europe&rsquo;s biggest mobile phone retailer said that revenue at Best Buy Europe &ndash; its joint venture with US firm Best Buy &ndash; were &pound;773m, up 0.7 per cent year-on-year on a constant current basis and slightly above analyst expectations.<br /><br />Chief executive Charles Dunstone attributed the resilience to the &ldquo;massive effect&rdquo; of the iPhone. The hype surrounding the device has also seen sales of other smartphones jump, he said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Both our businesses have continued to make good progress, despite the economic climate and we are able to reiterate the financial guidance we have given for the full-year,&rdquo; said Dunstone.<br /><br />Revenues at Carphone&rsquo;s telecoms business, TalkTalk, were in-line with expectations at &pound;340m, a drop of two per cent year-on-year, reflecting declines in residential voice-only and dial-up customers.<br /><br />But it said that it added 47,000 new broadband customers, bringing its total broadband base to 2.85m, not including the customer base it acquired with the &pound;236m purchase of Tiscali UK earlier this month.<br /><br />The group had previously forecast earnings per share growth of 10 per cent, including the Tiscali deal, and the generation of over &pound;150m in free cash flow.<br /><br />The Carphone boss also signaled that the demerger of Best Buy Europe and TalkTalk is on track for March 2010, with a &pound;350m banking facility now in place for Best Buy.