'Terrific year' for Dixons Carphone as profits surge
Electrical and mobile phone giant Dixons Carphone hailed a "terrific year" as it revealed a 21% surge in profits in its first set of annual results since being created following a merger between two of the high street's biggest names.
The group behind Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World said underlying pre-tax profits leapt to £381m in the 13 months to May 2 after robust trading for both its electricals and mobile business.
Dixons Carphone said UK and Ireland like-for-like sales rose 8% over the year helped by its "most competitive ever" pricing on electricals, while its mobile business was also given a boost by the demise of rival Phones 4U.
Earlier this year the firm closed its Belfast city centre store with the loss of around two dozen jobs.
Sebastian James, group chief executive, said: "This has been a terrific first year for Dixons Carphone. We have seen excellent increases in both sales and profitability and we have made very encouraging progress with the tricky job of integrating these two great companies."
But he added the job was "far from done".
"I am acutely aware that there is no room for complacency in a sector which has seen unprecedented change, bringing both opportunities and challenges."
The group welcomed the Government's plans for a national "living wage" unveiled in last week's summer Budget, saying it was already preparing for higher minimum wages for staff ahead of the announcement.
It said the move had brought forward its plans, but stressed everything was "budgeted for".
Finance director Humphrey Singer said: "It's the right thing to do to offer a good wage for our employees."
Other firms have been highly critical of the living wage plans amid fears over soaring wage costs after Chancellor George Osborne said all firms must pay a compulsory living wage of £7.20 an hour for over-25s from April next year, rising to £9 by 2020.
This week Belfast-born boss of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, became the latest to warn over its impact, saying it would add "considerable uncertainty" to the under-pressure pub sector.
Dixons Carphone also responded to the Government's plans to allow councils to extend Sunday trading hours, saying it was ready to do so.
"It's our job to do what customers want," said Mr Singer.
Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group, said: "The recent merger is evidently working well."