The Dixons' Group has reported strong results for the year ended 1 despite drop in margin. May, buoyed by the success of Freeserve and a robust PC World.
The overall group profit was up nine per cent to £237.1 million on turnover that climbed 13 per cent to £3,156.3 million. But the retail giant also suffered a 0.7 per cent drop in gross margins, which knocked £22 million off its profit.
The group opened a total of 116 stores during the year, creating 3,000 jobs and bringing the group store count to 987. It intends creating a further 3,000 jobs this year.
The sales from the Dixons chain represented £726 million, a five per cent climb, while Currys surged ahead of its sibling with sales of £1,320 million, a three per cent increase. But PC World sales soared by 41 per cent to £805 million. The 66-strong chain also increased PC unit sales by 80 per cent.
The group is also piloting a cut-down version of the PC World format in Inverness which is expected to launch nationally this year, adding up to 60 stores to the empire.
The business arm of PC World also showed improvement, with a 48 per cent increase in sales to £83 million. The group's foray into the specialist games market, @Jakarta, reached five stores and is about to launch online.
Meanwhile, Freeserve's position as the UK's main ISP was highlighted by analysts as a key driving force for the group, although it has failed to deliver significant revenue yet.
Sir Stanley Kalms, chairman of Dixons, said: 'The group is strongly placed to take advantage of the considerable opportunities available to all our retail brands and Freeserve arising from developing technology, the growth of the internet and e-commerce. We will maximise our efforts to exploit these unparalleled opportunities.'
George O' Connor, analyst at Granville Research, added: 'The share price has been bouncing around, but the group has done well - especially the PC World stores which saw phenomenal growth considering the margin erosion that has happened this year. It has been boosted by Freeserve's success.'
Meanwhile, figures from the Stock Exchange saw Dixons share price drop 13p to 1306p.
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