Technology-focused retailer Dixons Retail turned in a slightly better-than-anticipated performance during the year ended April 28th, despite like-for-like (LFL) sales falling three per cent year-on-year.
Full year group underlying profit before tax is expected to be between £65m and £70m, which is towards the top end of expectations.
The boost came in the final quarter, which saw LFL sales rise 5.0% on the back of a good performance in both the UK (up 8.0%) and northern Europe (up 10%), where the firm was ahead of the market.
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However, this was offset by poorer sales in both Italy and Greece, down 0.9%, as a result of continued difficult economic environments.
Gross margins were down 0.3% over the year and flat in the UK, in line with the company's strategy. Northern Europe gross margins were down 0.5% in the full year, but recovered to flat in the second half.
The financial performance of PIXmania, one of Dixons' online brands, was particularly affected by supply issues following natural disasters, consumer declines in core markets and the transition to a new operating model, the firm admitted.
Sebastian James, Chief Executive, said: "Our overall group performance across the year has been slightly better than we anticipated. We saw a strong end to the year particularly in the UK and Nordics, and it is good to see the work that we have been doing to improve the ranging and service bearing fruit as more customers are choosing us over our competitors. However, in Southern Europe our businesses have been impacted by the weaker economic environments and issues in the Eurozone.
"The consumer environment remains uncertain in many of our markets and we continue to plan cautiously and manage costs aggressively. Overall, though, our business is in a strong position for the year ahead and we are looking forward to an exciting summer of sporting activities and celebrations."
Net debt is expected to be around £110m.
The share price rose 3.77% to 18.16p by 08:41.
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