Dixons Retail has said that a clear customer-focused strategy, combined with the demise of competitors including Comet, had helped it boost UK multichannel sales by a quarter to take more than a fifth of the UK electricals market during the past year.
The owner of brands including PC World and Currys said it had grown UK sales by 7% to £4bn in the year to April 30, taking an estimated 21% of the electricals market. It put its success down to a customer-focused approach that includes multichannel services such as, most recently, pay&collect, designed to give customers access to the full range of products from their local store. The retailer also moved to reward stores for online transactions made locally.
Looking forward, Dixons said it would move its last order time for next-day delivery to 10pm, a move that it said would “provide customers with greater choices as well as increasing our delivery densities.”
It will also move forward with a store transformation programme that has so far seen 323 stores improved and new megastore and superstore formats evolve. In the long term, it said, it planned to have an estate of 380 to 400 stores in the UK. “Customer shopping patterns continue to evolve and we will ensure that we actively manage our store portfolio so that we provide customers with the right store formats in the right locations,” it said.
The update came as Dixons reported a boost to group sales, including that 7% boost to UK trading. Weak trading in southern Europe held back total sales to a 4% rise, to £8.2bn, while like-for- like sales also grew by 4%. Pre-tax profits rose to £94.5m, up from £82.1m in the previous year. The company said it continued to reorganise PIXmania, with 19 stores closed during the year, and headcount reduced from 1,400 to 649 in France.
Sebastian James, Group Chief Executive, said: “It has been a good year for Dixons Retail with underlying profits up by 15%, and a great year in the UK and Ireland with profits up by 39%. We have returned to growth for the group as a whole, and also to a net cash position, marking an important milestone in our transition from survivor to winner.”
He said the success had been the result of a “fundamental shift” to the company’s philosophical approach, rather than short-term changes. And he added: “The economic backdrop remains tough; we will have to strive hard to keep up our momentum and will flourish only if we continue to offer ever higher levels of service, and the sharpest possible prices, no matter which channel our customers choose.
“The year ahead offers many fantastic opportunities for us and we have plans which touch every part of our business to make things better, easier and faster. I believe that many of our stores are now among the very best in the world, but I recognise that we need to make sure that the experience in our stores is completely consistent – from Truro to Tromsø; every day we must find new ways to surprise, delight and improve the lives of our customers.”