Dixons Carphone online sales soar amid lockdown entertainment boom

Dixons Carphone’s pre-tax profits rose by 34% in the year to 1 May as it notched up almost £5bn in online sales of electrical goods including televisions, laptops and video game consoles to consumers stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The retailer, which owns the Currys PC World brand, said revenues from electrical goods ordered online more than doubled year on year to £4.7bn.

Online sales accounted for just over 45% of the company’s total annual revenues, which rose 2% to £10.3bn. Like-for-like sales of electrical goods were up 14% despite stores in the UK, 爱尔兰, Norway, Denmark and Greece being shut for substantial periods.

The company’s adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 34% year on year to £156m, slightly ahead of analyst expectations.

Dixons Carphone said there was high growth in sales of computing products, especially Apple devices, as well as headphones. Sales of major domestic appliances were slower while shops were closed but the company said they had been encouraging since reopening.

In the UK and Ireland – where the company will be rebranding as Currys this year and ditching the Dixons, Carphone Warehouse and PC World brands – online sales rose by 114% to £3.4bn.

This helped to offset lost sales from enforced store closures during lockdowns, which also kept its Dixons Travel airport outlets shut.

The company announced in April it would permanently close all Dixons Travel shops because it did not expect a sufficient recovery in passenger numbers to make up for the UK government’s decision to scrap tax-free shopping.

“Technology has become even more central to people’s lives,” said the Dixons Carphone chief executive, Alex Baldock. “As the market leader, with the winning omnichannel business model, we can make the most of that. The past year has seen us do so, growing a big online business and adding it to our in-store strengths.”

The company aims to become “ever more the first choice for all things tech, electrical and mobile, products and services alike”, according to Baldock.

Restarting its shareholder dividend, Dixons Carphone said it had given back £73m in furlough payments received for its UK and Irish employees, as well as £144m in deferred VAT.

The retailer has committed to increasing minimum hourly wages for its UK workers by an average of 9% from October, bringing them in line with recommended living wage levels of £10.85 an hour in London and £9.50 outside the capital.