LONDON Jan 17 Dixons Retail, Europe's
second-biggest electrical goods retailer, said "phenomenal"
demand for tablet computers drove sales in its home and Nordic
markets, though they continued to fall in southern Europe.
Dixons, home to the Currys and PC World chains in Britain,
Elkjop in Nordic countries, UniEuro in Italy and Kotsovolos in
Greece, said on Thursday group sales at stores open over a year
rose 3 percent in the 12 weeks to Jan. 5, its fiscal third
That compared with analysts' consensus forecast of up 1.5-2
percent and a first half rise of 3 percent.
"Tablet sales were phenomenal across our markets, which was
good to see but which impacted overall headline margins
somewhat," Chief Executive Sebastian James said.
"White goods were also strong, particularly in the UK."
Dixons said its gross margins fell 0.5 percent, mainly
because of the strength of tablets in its product mix.
James said the group sold "well over 1 million" tablets in
its third quarter.
The company said its full-year underlying profit before tax
was expected to be in line with market expectations of 75-85
million pounds ($120-$136 million).
Like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose 8 percent and
were up 11 percent in northern Europe. But in the southern
Europe division, which includes Italy and Greece, like-for-like
sales fell 8 percent.
Britain and Ireland and Northern Europe both beat market
forecasts, while the decline in southern Europe was in line with