Kesa profit is up but Comet falling behind

ELECTRICALS group Kesa yesterday reported a 52 per cent rise in profit – helped by sales of televisions for the World Cup in the summer.

But losses at its UK arm Comet increased to £5.4m from £1.5m, as the bill for store revamps and tough trading conditions took their toll.

The company said it would introduce ranges of new electrical accessories as well as smaller electrical goods in an attempt to reverse the fortunes of the UK’s second largest electricals retailer.

Revenues at Kesa rose by 4.1 per cent overall with profit at its French business Darty up
16 per cent, in the six months to 31 October.

Meanwhile internet sales jumped 23 per cent across the group.

Darty operates in ten countries and is the market leader in France.

However in the UK competition from Dixons Retail, which owns Currys and PC World, has been strong, making life tough for Comet.

Kesa chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin said the company was expecting tough UK conditions into next year, while he was pinning hopes for Christmas sales on iPads and designer coffee machines.

“Things are diffIcult but we have a plan for Comet. Ît’s obviously a tough market in the UK.

“We think the iPad and other tablets will be strong at Christmas.”

The company hiked its interim dividend by 15 per cent.

It also said it had not seen its sales hit by the arrival in the UK of US electricals giant BestBuy. Falque-Pierrotin also played down any chance the company could be broken up after rumours that major US shareholder Knight Vinke would push for such a deal.