* CPW Europe Q3 lfl revenue up 7.8 pct vs f'cst up 4 pct
* CEO sees CPW Europe year margin down 2 percentage points
* Group EPS guidance of 11.5-13.0 pence reiterated
* Shares up 0.5 pct
LONDON, Jan 24 Carphone Warehouse,
Europe's biggest independent mobile phone retailer, beat sales
growth forecasts at its main CPW Europe business, with strong
demand for smartphones and tablets in Britain more than
offsetting weakness in France.
But despite the strong showing the firm said on Thursday it
would not be changing earnings guidance for the 2012-13 year as
it had cut prices and offered deals to drive revenue.
Chief Executive Roger Taylor told Reuters CPW Europe's
profit margins would be down about 2 percentage points over the
full-year, mirroring the first-half fall.
Sales at CPW Europe stores open over a year rose 7.8 percent
in the three months to Dec. 31, Carphone's fiscal third quarter.
That compared with analysts' consensus forecast for a
like-for-like rise of 4 percent, according to a company poll,
and a 5 percent rise in the second quarter.
Shares in Carphone, up 35 percent over the last three
months, were up 0.5 percent at 220.5 pence at 0840 GMT, valuing
the business at 1.04 billion pounds ($1.65 billion).
UK like-for-like revenue was up 16 percent but flat in
mainland Europe, with France "particularly challenging".
Many European retailers are suffering as rising prices,
meagre wages growth, government austerity measures and worries
about the euro zone debt crisis hurt consumers.
UK growth was driven by the postpay segment with the prepay
market remaining weak.
Taylor said top sellers in the high end smartphone category
were Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy
S3. He said the firm also sold "hundreds of thousands" of
tablets, taking about 8 percent of the tablet market in the UK.
Last week Dixons Retail and Home Retail's Argos
called out strong sales of tablets at Christmas.
Non-cellular revenue represented 9 percent of CPW Europe's
revenue in the third quarter. The firm has a medium term
aspiration to get that figure to 15 percent.
Carphone's Virgin Mobile France (VMF) joint venture posted
revenue growth of 9.9 percent on a constant currency basis.
Carphone reiterated EPS guidance for the 2012-13 year at
11.5-13.0 pence, with a narrowed range for headline earnings
before interest and tax (EBIT) of 135-145 million pounds for CPW
Overall third quarter revenue rose 14.5 percent to 1.09