Dixons says it will gain from Comet collapse

Kasmira Jefford
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THE BOSS of Dixons Retail said he expected to grab a bigger slice of the market following rival Comet’s demise, as it returned to profit in the UK for the first time in five years.

Sebastian James said Currys and PC World had not seen “much disruption” from the fire sale of Comet’s stock, as shoppers fail to find the items they want in the sale.

“Last week I sat outside the Comet store in Oxford and customers would go in and then go across to us afterwards,” he said

In the long-term, he said the group, which has hired 1,000 Comet staff on a part-time basis, would benefit from consolidation in the sector and up its 19.8 per cent share. Comet’s exit could add £30m to Dixon’s operating profit next year, Panmure Gordon analyst Philip Dorgan estimated.

Dixons reported that like-for-like sales rose three per cent in the 24 weeks to 13 October, led by a strong first quarter when shoppers bought tablets and smart TVs before a summer of sporting events.

That helped Dixons post a first-half profit of £5.6m in the UK, having made a loss of £6m a year ago.

But problems at its French business Pixmania dragged it to a total pre-tax loss of £80m after it was forced to take a £45m writedown on the value of the unit.