Dixons Carphone saw revenues from electrical goods ordered online more than double year-on-year to £4.7bn. Pre-tax profits rose by 34 per cent in the year to 1 May – to £156m – thanks to soaring online sales of electrical goods including televisions, laptops and video game consoles during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
The Currys PC World parent company said online sales accounted for just over 45 per cent of its total annual revenues, which rose two per cent to £10.3bn.
In the UK and Ireland – where the company will be rebranding as Currys this year and losing the Dixons, Carphone Warehouse and PC World brands – online sales rose by 114 per cent to £3.4bn.
The retailer said this helped to offset lost sales from enforced store closures during lockdowns, while it also permanently closed its Dixons Travel airport outlets.
Dixons Carphone announced earlier this year it would close all 35 Dixons Travel shops because it did not expect a sufficient recovery in passenger numbers to make up for the UK Government’s decision to scrap tax-free shopping.
This was in addition to the closure of 11 Currys PC World stores in the year, including seven high street stores.
Meanwhile, across the remaining brands in the year to May, like-for-like sales of electrical goods were up 14 per cent – despite stores in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Greece being shut for substantial periods.
Sales of major domestic appliances were slower while shops were closed but the company said they had been encouraging since reopening.
Alex Baldock, Group Chief Executive of Dixons Carphone, said technology has become “even more central” to people’s lives, and that COVID-19 has structurally increased the size of the technology market.
“Hybrid working will become normal, and in-home entertainment will stay bigger,” he said. “More usage points to faster replacement and more opportunity to sell complementary products and services.”
Mr Baldock added: “With the winning omnichannel business model, we can make the most of that. The past year has seen us do so, growing a big online business and adding it to our in-store strengths.
“But we’re most excited about what lies ahead. This year, we move to one brand in the UK and Currys can become ever-more the first choice for all things tech, electrical and mobile, products and services alike.”
Dixons Carphone also reported in its year-end results it was restarting its shareholder dividend, and added that it had given back £73m in furlough payments received for its UK and Irish employees, as well as £144m in deferred VAT.