Dixons sees trade dented as the dire weather claims another retail victim

 
City A.M. Reporter
DIXONS Retail yesterday forecast full-year profit around the bottom end of market expectations after Christmas sales were hit by December’s adverse weather.

The company, which runs the Currys and PC World chains in Britain, UniEuro in Italy, Elkjop in Nordic countries and Kotsovolos in Greece, said it expected underlying profit before tax in the range of £100m to £110m in 2011.

Dixons said sales at stores open over a year fell two per cent in the 12 weeks to 8 January – its fiscal third quarter. That compares with analyst forecasts for a fall of two to nine per cent, according to a Reuters poll, and with a second-quarter fall of one per cent.

“We remain cautious about the economic outlook across our markets,” the firm said.

Dixons, which makes all its profit in the second half, is two and a half years into a turnaround plan that has focused on selling underperforming businesses, cutting costs, revamping stores, opening larger stores and improving product ranges and service. The programme has generally been well received by analysts, but Dixons’ share price has fallen by 40 per cent over the last year. Competition from US electricals giant BestBuy – which has launched into the UK market – has not helped. Austerity measures have also seen shoppers tightening their belts.