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Comet fuels Kesa revival

KESA, the electricals retailer that owns Comet, returned to profit in the first half of its financial year, with stronger sales mirroring recent improved performances by rivals Currys and PC World.

Kesa reported a £6m pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of October, a big turnaround from the £103.8m loss in the same period last year.

Like-for-like sales rose two per cent at 251 Comet stores while group sales were down 2.2 per cent overall highlighting the quicker pace of recovery in the UK compared to Europe where Kesa owns the Darty brand.

Against a weak result in the first half of 2008, revenues grew 7.6 per cent in constant currency terms to £2.35bn.

Kesa chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin said: “The outlook for the second half of the year remains uncertain but our businesses are prepared and well positioned for the more significant peak trading period.”

Products that have sold well over the past six months include coffee machines, laptops, iPhones and widescreen televisions.

Kesa said it had taken market share from competitors in a market that fell four per cent overall.
Kesa’s main rival DSG International, the owner of Currys and PC World, has also recently reported better trading.

However, sales figures across the industry are now being helped by easier comparisons with last year.

Kesa has cut Comet 300 staff at Comet as part of a cost savings drive. The next phase will see the electricals retailer roll out of more smaller format stores.