Kesa sees mixed results

Shares down on weak sales, with chief exec warning of continued difficult trading conditions
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The parent company of Comet, the third largest consumer electronics retailer in the UK, has reported a drop in profit, despite a 15 month trading period with the group blaming softening consumer demand and an increasingly difficult trading environment for the results sending shares down by eight per cent.

Kesa, which changed its year end from January 31st to April 30th – hence the 15 month trading year – saw its year-on-year pre-tax profit fall from £133 million to £127.9 million – a fall of £5 million.

Retail sales for the 12 months up to April 30th were up to £141.3 million, up from £137 million in 2007.

Despite the drop at Comet's parent company, the UK retailer saw an increase in profits of 0.9 per cent, up to £43 million. Like-for-like sales edged up 0.3 per cent, though the retailer did open two new stores and expand several as part of its on-going renewal scheme during the year.

Sales of notebook and flat screen televisions continued to remain strong, however, sales of white goods, which Comet had previously said had been on the decline began to impact overall sales.

"We are seeing a continuing decline in consumer confidence and we anticipate further difficult trading conditions ahead," commented chief executive Jean-Noël Labroue. "We will probably be on negative like-for-like sales for some times," adding that he sees trading in the UK, in particular, remaining tough for the foreseeable future

At the time of writing, shares were down eight per cent or 14 pence at 160.50 pence.

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