Dixons, UK's fifth 'emergency service', brushes off Brexit scare stories

CEO: 'volatility inevitable' but look at our fiscal '16 financials, we are peerless

Dixon Carphone - which, god help us, wants to become the fifth emergency service in the UK - this morning played down the personal impact of market “volatility” that a post-Brexit vote will “inevitably” cause as it reported bumper profits for fiscal ’16.

The retailer said like-for-like group sales edged up three per cent year-on-year in local currency to £9.78bn for the year ended 30 April - the UK heartland went up one per cent to £6.4bn, reflecting stores closure.

Demand for white box goods offset weaker trade in computing, TV sales benefited from the Rugby World Cup last year it said. The mobile element saw market share gains helped by the store within a store concept, the launch of a 4G network branded iD and lasting benefits of Phones4You going pop in the prior financial year.

The borg is rolling out the 3-in-1 store concept, merging the PC World and Currys outlets, and slotting Carphone Warehouse into those that don’t include the mobile phone biz. The refitting programme will lead to the closure of 134 stores, and will dampen profits in the current fiscal ’17, it said.

Revenue in the Nordics was down three per cent to £2.63bn after the local currency was converted into Sterling - in constant currency, sales actually grew six per cent. Southern Europe was down nine per cent in Brit Pounds to £550m.

Connected World Services - which includes tech services and support, MVNO management, and insurance sold to other retailers - jumped to £152m from £121m. Dixon has a deal to roll out CWS in Sprint stores Stateside.

In the year, Dixons lifted the covers off a subscription service for UK punters that want someone else to maintain gadgets and home appliances for them. The division has "a mandate to become a true emergency service for customers across the UK”.

Profit for the year was £337m, up from £285m in the prior financial year.

Seb James, chief exec at the retailer, talked bullishly about the business and its prospects but noted market caution since Friday’s EU referendum.

“The nation has spoken and there has been a vote to exit the EU in due course. As you can imagine, we have been giving some thought to this.

“Our view is that, as the strongest player in our market and despite the volatility that is the inevitable consequence of such change, we expect to find opportunities for additional growth and further consolidate our position as the leader in the UK market,” said James. ®

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