Dixons Carphone has issued a COVID-19 business update, revealing a massive 166% increase in online sales during lockdown across the UK and Ireland.
The online sales jump has recovered around two-thirds of sales lost to store closures due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with the retailer having to close 531 standalone stores during this period.
Dixons Carphone says that the UK&I and Greek stores that are closed would normally have been expected to contribute a further £400 million of sales in this financial year. As it stands, year-end net debt for the retailer is expected to be around £300 million.
“In April we have seen strong demand for home office equipment including computers and home networking as people work and communicate remotely,” said the update. “Gaming and TV sales have also been strong. In kitchen products, refrigeration and food preparation including bread makers have sold particularly well. The latter part of the month has seen increased sales for personal care products and fitness trackers. In contrast, sales for other major domestic appliances have fallen as home moves stall and the imaging market continues to decline.”
Alex Baldock, group chief executive of Dixons Carphone commented: “I’m humbled by the speed and skill with which thousands of our colleagues have reacted to this crisis in safely helping millions of customers and securing the business’s future. I can’t thank them enough. We’re setting new social distancing and hygiene standards that allow us to provide vital help to customers through the lockdown, to keep them connected with loved ones, their families fed, clean and entertained, work from home and home-school the kids. We’ve given extra help to vulnerable older people, in partnership with Age UK, and prioritised the NHS.
“This vital role is reflected in customer demand: wherever we’ve been open, our sales performance has been strong. In the Nordics, our stores continue to operate to high social distancing and hygiene standards, providing a successful blueprint for how our UK stores can safely reopen as soon as Government so decides. And we’re innovating; launching live video shopping for online customers and contactless shopping in-store.”
He concluded: “We’re being prudent in conserving cash, have secured additional funding, and can plan for the future with confidence. We remain committed to our longer-term transformation and will use everything we’re learning through this crisis to build a better business for customers, colleagues and shareholders.”
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