British Black Friday starting to equal the US, says Dixons Carphone

Dixons Carphone’ chief executive Sebastian James is convinced Black Friday can become a British institution after it helped the retailer post a 7% increase in like-for-like sales in the nine weeks to January 3.

The firm, which owns Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse, now expects pre-tax profits of up to £375m for the year ending May 1; above its previous forecast of £354m.

Chief executive Sebastian James said that Black Friday had been the most successful trading day in the combined histories of Dixons, Carphone Warehouse and PC World. Boxing day, although not comparable, was also a company record.

He told Marketing Week: “This can get bigger and bigger, it certainly isn’t going away. In one day we achieved the equivalent of three days worth of sales.

I think it is pretty close to the States in proportion of total sales and when I talk to Best Buy it doesn’t feel far off. There’s a lot of things we can do better next year in terms of coping with scale online but I’d certainly expect sales to rise again as our product offer is vast and unique. We aren’t in the same game as an Asda in selling a few cheap televisions.”

Crediting the retailer’s “pricing, availability and marketing” as key factors behind its Christmas success, James also admitted that the demise of rival Phones 4 U had “significantly boosted footfall.”

“Our marketing has been very successful and the ‘We Start With You’ ads have really communicated the logic behind the brand and the quality service an in our stores,” he added. “We’ve had a massive uplift in online searches and have increased social media marketing spend over this period.”

Conlumino analyst David Alexander praised Dixons Carphone for standing up well to online competitors and said its multichannel focus and reliance on click and collect were proving profitable.

“Perhaps more importantly than that though, Dixons Carphone has found itself virtually standing alone like a monolith as the last bastion of store-based electricals specialists,” he added.

“In 2012 it was Comet’s collapse that paved the way for its market domination and more recently, the demise of Phones 4U has left the way clear in mobile phones.”

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