Dixons says force will be with it at Christmas

Dixons Retail, which owns the Currys and PC World chains, says that the recent launch of its Star Wars-themed advertising campaign should help boost sales during crucial Christmas trading.

The retailer’s forecast comes as it reports that losses narrowed in the first half. The pre-tax loss was £7.9m for the 24 weeks to 16 October, it says, from £17.6m a year earlier.

Like for like sales from its UK and Ireland stores increased 2% to £1.6bn, buoyed by sales of television sets ahead of this summer’s World Cup and the popularity of Apple’s iPad, which it began selling earlier this year.

The company, which traditionally makes most of its profit in the second-half of its financial year, says that Christmas trading should be lifted by the launch of the campaign featuring Star Wars characters R2-D2 and C-3PO.

“Whilst it is early days, it appears that this campaign has caught the imagination of our customers and should position the Megastores well ahead of the important Christmas Peak period,” the company says in a statement.

Dixons has been combining the Currys and PC World brands as 2-in-1 megastores, adding Phones 4U shops-in-shops and refurbishing stores in a bid to differentiate in the fiercely competitive electricals retail market.

It has also just launched service programme “Knowhow”, a “fundamental shift”, it claims, in the pre and post sale service it offers customers. The move comes as Best Buy, known in its native US for high levels of customer satisfaction, ramps up its UK operations.

John Browett, chief executive of Dixons Retail, says: “Our complete focus on our customers and on consistently delivering value, choice and service continues. We remain cautious on the economic outlook across many of our markets, as consumer confidence remains low…..We remain excited by the technology pipeline and the superb ranges and deals we will offer customers this Christmas.”

Read Rosie Baker’s analysis of Dixons’ service approach here.

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