Dixons profits fail to Pix up

The retailer's stores are fine - but its online offering has pushed it to a pre-tax loss of £115.3m.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 17 Dec 2013
Dixons Retail is the last electronics chain standing in a sector that has been all but obliterated by online retailers selling gadgets at rock-bottom prices. So it’s ironic that, according to figures published this morning, although things at its company’s high street stores are going swimmingly, its online retail arm, Pixmania, is becoming its very own spinning wheel of death/blue screen of horror (depending on whether it’s a Mac or PC user…

Dixons, which owns PC World and Currys, said its UK business had done well in the year to the end of April, with like-for-like sales rising by 7%. It reckons it now has a 21% share of the electrical goods market – although, given the demise of its last competitor, Comet, last year, that’s neither unexpected nor particularly impressive.

The problem is Pixmania, its standalone online offering (separate from the main Currys website - although it does also have some bricks-and-mortar stores in Europe) which is undergoing heavy restructuring, with 600 job cuts last year. The website posted a loss of £31.3m, with sales falling by almost a quarter. On top of asset writedowns and restructuring charges of £168.8m, that meant as a group, Dixons made a pre-tax loss of £115.3m.

Dixons said it is ‘continuing to explore options to put Pixmania on a firmer strategic footing’ – presumably so it can put it up for sale.

Chief executive Sebastian James is nothing if not stoic, saying that the year ahead offers ‘many fantastic opportunities’, and that the business has plans ‘to make things better, easier and faster’.

‘From Truro to Tromso, every day we must find new ways to surprise, delight and improve the lives of our customers,’ he gushed.

Although to what extent shoppers will be surprised and delighted by a new toaster remains to be seen.

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Finance Retail

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