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By | Paul Kunert 10th May 2012 09:18

Horde of customers storms Dixons – too late to save 2012 sales

5% Q4 surge after months-long struggle to shift product

A late flurry of consumer spending in the UK boosted Dixons Retail's Q4 sales but came too late to prevent a full-year fiscal 2012 decline, the firm revealed in a trading statement.

Same-store revenues fell 3 per cent in the retailer's financial year ended 28 April but were down 1 per cent over the half-year period and actually grew 5 per cent in the final 16 weeks.

Group gross margin dipped 0.3 per cent for the year and underlying profit before tax is expected to come in between £65m to £70m - the upper end of analyst forecasts.

This is not a bad start for new chief executive Sebastian James, who succeeded Apple-bound John Browett in January.

"Overall group performance across the year has been slightly better than we anticipated, We saw a strong end to the year particularly in the UK and Nordics," said James.

The UK and Northern Europe operations grew like-for-like sales 8 per cent and 10 per cent in Dixons last quarter.

But some areas weighed heavy on group growth: PIXmania sales fell 7 per cent, which Dixons attributed to "supply chain issues following natural disasters", the transition to a new operating model and weak retail spending.

Unsurprisingly Southern Europe was another dark spot for the firm as revenues declined 9 per cent due to the fragile economic climate.

"The consumer market remains uncertain in many of our markets and we continue to plan cautiously and manage costs aggressively," said James.

He said the business is forecasting an "exciting summer of sporting activities and celebrations".

The Reg presumes James is referring to the London Olympics rather than the street games held across capital and other parts of the country last summer by gangs of looting hoodies, which cost Dixons £4m.

Prelim results for Dixons Retail's fiscal 2012 will be released on 21 June. ®

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