Belfast Telegraph

Black Friday boost at Dixons, but Brexit worries remain

By Holly Williams

Dixons Carphone cheered its best ever Black Friday as it posted a 19% jump in half-year profits, but said it was planning for "more uncertain times".

The electrical and mobile phones group said that while it had yet to see a knock to shopper confidence from the Brexit vote, it was bracing for a more unsettled 2017 as EU exit negotiations loom large and amid cost pressures from the sharply weaker pound.

It currently operates around nine Currys/PC World stores in Northern Ireland.

The firm also has around two-dozen Carphone Warehouse stores here.

Dixons Carphone buys around 90% of its products in sterling, although its manufacturers are expected to start increasing prices as the Brexit-hit pound sends their costs soaring.

It hopes to offset this and insisted customers were unlikely to see any noticeable hike in prices.

Dixons Carphone chief executive Seb James said: "While we have still not seen any effect on consumer demand as a consequence of Brexit, we have been planning for the possibility of more uncertain times ahead.

"We are also planning our offer so that potential currency impacts are minimised for the customer, and are ensuring that next year, as always, everybody can be absolutely sure that they won't get a better deal anywhere."

Dixons Carphone posted a 19% jump in underlying pre-tax profits to £144m for the six months to October 29 after notching up a 5% rise in like-for-like sales across the UK and Ireland.

Black Friday, which fell after its first half, was another record trading day for the group as shoppers snapped up gadgets such as smart fitness and wearable technology, as well as drones and dash cams.

Mr James said the Currys and PC World owner was cutting its fixed costs so the group can adapt to any potential difficult market conditions and "generally preparing for all eventualities - just in case".

Dixons Carphone has so far shrugged off any Brexit vote impact, with sales growth picking up over its first half - to 6% over the second quarter across the UK and Ireland.

It added that Christmas trading was "so far, so good", following on from its Black Friday success last month. Black Friday best-sellers included the Dyson V6 cordless vacuum cleaner.

Belfast Telegraph