Kesa laments EU troubles as losses widen

Kasmira Jefford
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KESA ELECTRICALS, the electronics retailer that sold its loss-making Comet chain earlier this year, yesterday said it is to rename itself Darty as it swung into the red.

The UK-listed group, which owns French electricals group Darty, reported a pre-tax loss of €313.9m (£253.3m) in the year to 30 April, compared to a €30.7m profit the previous year.

The loss was due to €274m of exceptional charges following the sale of Comet and €70.5m of costs from store closures at its troubled Spanish and Italian businesses.

Chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin said the markets throughout Europe had been “exceptionally difficult”, prompting the retailer to halve its full year dividend.

“In France last year, the [electricals] market declined by around four per cent. We expect it to decline further this year, mainly due to vision [TV sales] but maybe not to a four per cent level”, Falque-Pierrotin said.

Profits at Darty France fell 28 per cent to €107m, while its Developing Business, which includes stores in Italy, Spain and Turkey, slumped 33 per cent to a €41m loss.

The group pledged to improve its customer service, online offering and operational efficiencies to grow sales this year despite tough economic headwinds.

Kesa, which will be renamed Darty on 31 July, also announced that chairman David Newlands would be replaced by senior independent director Alan Parker in September.