Dixons Retail plc fought in "challenging" conditions to keep sales flat in its fiscal first half and encountered continued softness in the business to business (B2B) market.
For the 24 weeks to 16 October, total group sales were more-or-less flat year on year at £3.35bn. Underlying pre-tax losses stood at £7.9m, less than half the losses incurred during the corresponding period last year.
UK and Ireland revenue dropped on per cent to £1.62bn, with underlying losses narrowing more than £5m to £10.7m.
Sales in the retail titan's ecommerce wing fell four per cent annually to £310.1m, with losses reaching £800,000, compared with a £2.7m profit in 2009.
The Nordics was Dixons' star performer, with turnover in the region spiking eight per cent to £860.4m and profits up more than 15 per cent to £45m. Sales in the rest of the world were down four per cent year on year to £563.5m, with underlying losses up 58.4 per cent to £12.2m.
Breaking down the UK and Ireland performance, Dixons claimed a World Cup-related boom in TV sales, coupled with the launch of the iPad, helped it make "a strong start to the year". But, thereafter, "the trading environment remained challenging across the second quarter", according to Dixons. After a couple of years of disappointing results, the firm saw "B2B continuing to be weak" in H1.
Chief executive John Browett said: "We remain cautious on the economic outlook across many of our markets, as consumer confidence remains low. However, we have maintained our momentum in transforming the group and are performing ahead of the market.
"We have a proven store format that is delivering consistent gross profit uplifts across all our markets. We remain excited by the technology pipeline and the superb ranges and deals we will offer customers this Christmas."
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