Dixons Carphone sales jump thanks to pandemic online boost

Booming online sales during the pandemic helped electricals retailer Dixons Carphone swing to a half-year profit as it overcame the hit from store closures during lockdowns.

The Currys PC World owner posted statutory pre-tax profits of £45 million for the six months to October 31 against losses of £86 million a year earlier.

It notched up a 16% hike in like-for-like UK and Ireland electricals sales, while online sales jumped 145%, which offset the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on its shops.

The group, which normally makes most of its profits in the final six months of its financial year, revealed that current trading remains buoyant, with same-store sales up 16% in the six weeks to December 12 despite store closures in the UK and Greece.

On an underlying basis, group interim pre-tax profits rocketed to £89 million from £2 million a year earlier.

Dixons Carphone said it received £103 million in furlough support for workers and business rates tax relief, but that it had not used the Job Retention Scheme since October.

It has not followed the lead of a raft of retail rivals in paying back the support, but chief executive Alex Baldock insisted the group has “been responsible in our use of government support”.

He said: “We used the furlough scheme to preserve jobs in the first lockdown, and didn’t use the scheme at all in the second.

“Meanwhile, leaders have taken salary cuts and waived bonuses, and we suspended the dividend.”

But Mr Baldock said the outlook “remains uncertain”.

“We’re still nowhere near our full potential. Much hard work lies ahead.”