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Multichannel sales at Currys and PC World up by 38% as customers ‘get the service they want’

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Multichannel sales are growing fast at Dixon Retail’s Currys and PC World brands, illustrating, says its chief executive, success in giving customers the service that they want.

Group multichannel sales at Dixons Retail rose by 29% in the first half of its financial year, the company said today. At its UK businesses, Currys and PC World, they were still higher at 38%.

The company says that while 92% of customer purchases are completed in store, around 80% of shopping trips involve the internet “in some form.” In its financial statement for the first half of its year it added: “We continue to innovate in multichannel retailing and have made a number of further improvements to our websites to assist customers in their shopping trip.” Those improvements included better online search, the move to credit online sales to stores, and the introduction of pay and collect.

“Currys and PC World,” said the company, “ are also one of the first retailers in the UK to use new technology to optimise their websites in a fully dynamic way for use on either PCs, tablets or other mobile devices, which both makes the site easier for customers and reduces complexity in how the website is managed.” It said advocacy ratings were improving, with 94% of UK and Ireland customers likely or very likely to recommend it to friends.

The company is moving towards its target store estate size of between 400 and 420 stores. Some 42 shops have been closed since the beginning of the year and the estate now stands at 498. Its Knowhow customer service offer is on target to have more than a million customers by Christmas.

“It is increasingly clear in each of our markets,” said Dixons Group chief executive Sebastian James, “that our service-based, multi-channel business model is what customers want. We are outpacing our competitors, and have seen Comet enter administration in the UK and Expert exiting the market in Sweden.”

Dixons Retail posted flat sales across its pan-European business, at £3.29bn in the 24 weeks to September. Like-for-like sales were up by 3%. Underlying pre-tax losses totalled £22.2m, down from £25.3m at the same time last year, but exceptional payments including the £42.5m write down in the value of its PIXmania business took bottom line losses to £79.5m from a pre-tax profit of £2.4m last time.

In the UK, the company reported like-for-like sales up by 3% to £1.6bn in the first half, and claimed success in returning to profitability for the first time in five years, with underlying operating profit moving into the black, at £5.6m, from a loss of £6m last time.

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