Dixons’ profits benefit from Comet collapse

DIXONS Retail, Europe’s second-biggest electrical goods retailer, impressed investors yesterday as it said full year profit would be at the top end of market expectations, and posted a seven per cent rise in fourth quarter underlying sales.

Like-for-like sales rose 13 per cent in the UK and Ireland, where the firm has benefited from strong demand for tablet computers, as well as the demise of high-street rivals Comet and Jessops.

Though Comet collapsed in November last year, Dixons’ chief executive Seb James said the effect has taken a while to come through, but that he believed half of the like-for-like sales growth was generated by former customers of the defunct retailer.

Sales also grew by 14 per cent in northern Europe but were down five per cent in the southern division, made up of Italy, Greece and Turkey, where market conditions remained “extremely difficult”.

However, Dixons said underlying profit before tax for the 2012-13 year was expected to be at the top end of analysts’ forecast range of £75m-85m.