It’s a veritable feast for retail junkies today, with results from John Lewis Partnership, Next, Morrisons, Home Retail Group and Dixons Carphone. The last two make for an interesting comparison - one is riding high on a wave of consumer electronics, the other missing said wave.
Dixons Carphone continues to defy gloomy pre-merger predictions, reporting first quarter like-for-like sales up 8%. That was largely down to the UK & Ireland growing 10%, as sales in the Nordics expanded a more modest 4% and southern Europe was flat as a pancake.
Chief executive Sebastian James said this was largely down to ‘significant market share gain in phone sales’ – in other words, still making hay from the demise of of Phones4u. But he also told the Telegraph sales of ultra-high definition TVs and wearable fitness gadgets had risen substantially.
He then had to parry the inevitable question about last month’s Carphone Warehouse hack. ‘I feel the same as you would when you come home and your house has been burgled,’ he said. ‘You always feel you could have done more and we are.’ Except our house doesn’t contain valuable customer financial data, but there we go.
James also dismissed other retailers’ increasingly shrill protests about the costs of the Living Wage. ‘If we pay people and give people better service and become more productive, we may be able to bring prices down,’ he said. He’s certainly got more leeway than most to do that at the moment – although as Tesco will tell you, nothing can be taken for granted in retail.