Dixons Retail today reported widening losses – but said it would maintain its focus on customer service.
The multichannel electronics company, which owns brands including Dixons.co.uk, Currys and PC World, said its efforts to create a service-led business was “driving outperformance versus our competitors.” Today it reported pre-tax losses of £25.3m, in the 24 weeks to October 15, up from a loss of £6.9m at the same time last year.
Like-for-like sales were down by 5% but total group sales were at £3.3bn, slightly down on last year’s £3.35bn. In the UK, sales were down by 5% at £1.5bn with like-for-like sales down by 8%.
Sales in the group’s ecommerce division, which includes PIXmania and Dixons.co.uk, were down by 16% to £270.8m while underlying operating losses widened to £7.4m, from £0.8m last time. In future, the results of Dixons.co.uk will be reported as part of the UK division, leaving PIXmania to operate as the company’s ecommerce division.
Chief executive John Browett said: “While we remain cautious about the economic outlook for the second half of the year, we are well positioned and remain focused on delivering world-class value, choice and service for customers. We will continue to build our KNOWHOW service to further differentiate our offering. We are confident that customers will benefit from fantastic festive deals across an exciting range of technologies from our knowledgeable store colleagues this Christmas.”
Dixons says its customers are responding well to changes that have included refitting 255 stores, improvements to customer journeys and the Knowhow customer support service. It cites surveys showing increasing customer satisfaction. The proportion of customers highly likely to recommend the group’s UK businesses, for example, has risen sharply by 28 percentage points over the last year to 71%.
The results came as the company launched a 100 hour price crash online at Currys and PC World, which will run through to the end of Cyber Monday on November 28.
Our view: When the closure of the Best Buy UK stores was announced just a few weeks ago, many regretted the loss of its strong customer service – evidently a key part of its multichannel offer. But one part of Best Buy’s UK legacy may well be the new focus among competitors such as Dixons Retail on service. If that’s maintained it’s got to be a good thing. As always, however, the consumer experience must back up the rhetoric.