Currys/PC World owner Dixons Carphone has posted a 'strong' first full year trading statement, with profit before tax expected above the top end of guidance.
Group Q4 like-for-like revenue grew nine per cent (13 per cent in the UK and Ireland), while full-year revenue rose six per cent across the board (eight per cent in the UK and Ireland).
The group said further market share gains were made across electricals and mobile in the UK & Ireland, Nordics and Greece, with gross margins 'stable' in the full year.
Headline profit before tax is expected to be slightly above the top end of the previously guided range of £355 million to £375 million. Year-end net debt is expected to be ahead of guidance of £300 million.
Q4 like-for-like revenue growth was slower in the Nordics than previous quarters "due to the impact of the weaker oil price on the Norwegian economy and its currency, as well as a softer consumer backdrop in Finland".
Its Sweden business is moving to a joint head office, while the building of a new small products warehouse and El Giganten Phone House trials performing 'ahead of plan'.
UK & Ireland
"The Carphone Warehouse stores-within-a-store continue to perform well. There are now 233 open within Currys/PCWorld stores, of which 95 are full Carphone Warehouse executions, and we are averaging four additional stores each week. Our pricing versus the market is at our most competitive ever and NPS / Advocacy scores are at all time highs. Integration is progressing as planned with key organisational structure, head office and warehousing decisions now made," said Dixons Carphone chief exec Sebastian James.
“Nearly a year into our merger, I am very pleased to be posting such a strong first full year trading statement for our combined Dixons Carphone Group. Good trading, driven by market share gain and by strong promotional periods - including Easter - coupled with successfully streamlining the Group’s international assets, means that we are now guiding PBT to be slightly above the top end of our previously disclosed range for the full year.
"On the integration, our teams should be very proud of the progress that we have made. A very committed group of people has achieved this; it has required not just hard work, but also pragmatism - and a willingness to roll up sleeves and get stuck in. By the autumn, in the UK, Ireland and Sweden, we will have moved our head offices, begun moving our logistics and our repair centres, built integrated management teams and opened almost 280 new mobile stores. This is tricky to achieve - to say the least - and I would like to record my thanks to the teams for making it look so comparatively easy.
He added: "It is a truism that the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining, and we will pursue continued investment in the business this year to do just that. We are making excellent progress but there is still much to do, and many areas of the business that we want to improve further. Delivery options, IT investment, extending our free warranty programme, further training for our colleagues, Norwegian pricing and others are in our sights to make us stronger in the long term.
"Also, I am really pleased that we have launched our new mobile virtual network operator, iD. So far it is doing everything that we hoped it would, and some of the features we plan for the summer are genuinely unique. Finally, in the CWS business, the management has worked hard to build on our already strong pipeline, which is now looking quite exciting and which I look forward to talking more about in due course.”