Darty Q3 underlying sales rise 3.2 pct

PARIS Thu Feb 6, 2014 2:27am EST

PARIS Feb 6 (Reuters) - Darty Plc, Europe's third-largest electricals retailer, reported a 3.2 percent rise in like-for-like revenue for the third quarter and said it would look for cost savings in an economic climate which remained challenging.

Sales at Darty France, which represents 70 percent of group revenue, rose 4.9 percent in the quarter which ended on Jan. 31, slowing from 5.8 percent growth in the second quarter.

Its overall group gross margin was down 80 basis points reflecting ongoing price pressure in "challenging and promotional markets", it said in a statement.

Like its larger rivals - Metro's Media-Saturn and Dixons Retail - Darty is facing weak consumer spending and competition from online retailers.

London-listed Darty, which has more than 450 stores in Europe, has responded by cutting costs, exiting loss-making operations in Italy and Spain and focusing on its core markets of France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In December, Darty said it had agreed to sell its Turkish business under a plan to eliminate losses in non-core markets and was in talks to buy French multimedia website Mistergoodeal.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Jason Neely)