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Kesa back in black despite tough market

COMET owner Kesa has posted an 18 per cent rise in full-year profit as improved gross margins offset a decline in underlying sales growth.

The electricals retailer, which also runs market leader Darty in France, made an underlying pre-tax profit of £81.9m for the year to 30 April.

That was ahead of company guidance of £76m and up from £69.5m made in 2008-09. The group, which trades in 11 countries, said revenue rose 3.4 per cent to £5.1bn.

Comet itself saw a rise in annual profits of almost 14 per cent.

The chain made £11.5m in the year to the end of April, compared with £10.1m a year earlier.

The firm is targeting internet sales to match the level of market share it has in its retail stores and plans to open about 25 stores a year, half of which will be in its developing businesses in Italy, Turkey and Spain.

Kesa’s shares have fallen 23 per cent over the last six months after being hit by a weaker euro and competition from supermarkets.