Dixons Carphone today said the “roller-coaster” shape of the Christmas shopping season worked in its favour, with Black Friday a “huge success,” even though sales were hit in the following weeks.
The multichannel electricals retailer, which trades through brands including Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse, said group sales rose by 7% in the nine weeks to January 3, both in total and on a like-for-like basis. Sales in the UK and Ireland were 8% ahead of the same time last year, while Northern European sales were 6% up and Southern Europe was 4% down.
The company, formed last summer from the merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse, now predicts pre-tax profits for the year will be ahead of expectations, at between £355m and £375m.
“The strange shape of this year’s Christmas trading was something of a roller-coaster but I am very pleased with the end results,” said group chief executive Sebastian James. “In all of our largest markets we have excellent-like-for-like performance against fairly tough comparables. At the same time we have also experienced stable gross margin. There is no doubt that the huge scale and success of our Black Friday promotion impacted the three weeks that followed, but it was good to see customers respond positively to the deals that we had on Boxing Day where we saw growth from our record-breaking numbers last year in both the UK and Nordics. Our availability, pricing, service and marketing were all achieving very strong performance and customer metrics, and this translated into growth in market share in all our key territories over the period.”
On Black Friday itself Currys held customers in a queueing system as the website was inundated with visitors. James told Radio 4’s Today programme that the company had been planning for Black Friday since Black Saturday the previous year, negotiating with suppliers to provide promotions.
In today’s trading statement, he said changes in the way consumers buy had fed through to the Dixons Carphone experience. “Online has risen as a proportion,” he said, “with excellent growth in both home delivery and click-and-collect.” White goods sold well during the peak period, he said, with “particularly rapid growth in online.”