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DSG International looks to better customer experience

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DSG International, owner of multichannel electricals and computing brands Dixons, Currys and PC World, says it is continuing to drive “renewal and transformation” in order deliver “a better shopping trip” for customers.

The statement came as DSG gave the markets an update on both full-year and half-year trading to May 1 ahead of its closed period.

The figures, published yesterday, showed that while like-for-like online sales rose by 11% in the last year, stores were not faring so well. Overall UK and Ireland sales were down by 3% in the full year, but up by 3% in the second half of the year. The strongest growth was shown in the Nordic countries, where like-for-like growth rose by 13%.

But DSG said its new format stores, being delivered through its renewal and transformation programme were delivering “consistent profit uplift”, while £50 million in savings, part of a £200m four-year cost saving programme have already been delivered.

The company said it had put new debt facilities in place, with a £360m revolving credit facility signed with a syndicate of banks.

John Browett, chief executive, said customers were responding to its “unwavering focus on value, choice and service” against a “challenging backdrop”. He added: “Whilst we remain cautious about the consumer environment for 2010, we are looking forward to the opportunities offered by this year’s World Cup, with a strong line-up of products and compelling offers in place.

“Throughout the year we will continue to drive change through our renewal and transformation plan, delivering a better shopping trip for customers and stronger business performance for shareholders.”

Full year results will be announced on June 24.

Our view: Up till now DSG has dominated the UK electricals market through its high street brands, PC World, Dixons and Currys. But threats to that position have been coming from all sides recently, with the opening of Best Buy first store, with its e-commerce channel to come in the autumn, and the fast growth of electricals sales at supermarkets including Tesco.

That’s one reason why there’s such an emphasis at DSG on new format stores and a “better shopping trip” for consumers. And not before time. Because while the value that DSG has traded on will continue an important driver, it’s no longer enough on its own. The kind of customer service promised by Best Buy in tandem with competitive prices has been sadly lacking elsewhere in the UK high street. If Best Buy does one thing for the UK market, it should be to raise customer service standards across its sector.

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