UK TV Retailers Announce Profits Boosted By World Cup

Jonathan Sutton

Two of the largest TV retailers in the United Kingdom have this week posted highly encouraging full-year results, boosted in no small part by a surge in HDTV sales as UK consumers prepared to enjoy the FIFA World Cup 2010 on large-screen displays from the comfort of their own homes.


Kesa Electricals, which owns the Comet chain of electrical stores, reported an estimation-beating pre-tax profit of £69.6 million in its financial year ending April 2010, in stark contrast to the £81.8 million loss the group posted last year. Despite a decline in like-for-like sales to the tune of 1.5% in UK Comet stores due to stiff competition from a rejuvenated DSG International and new heavyweight player Best Buy, strong performances from its French Darty arm and a shift of focus to customer service has turned Kesa’s results from red to black.

To avoid losing market share in the face of aggressive assaults from both Best Buy Europe (a retail collaboration between the famous US consumer electronics retailer and UK mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse) and DSG International, Kesa chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin revealed plans to change the black-and-gold Comet logo which was introduced 5 years ago, update the uniforms of its staff for a more contemporary image, and overhaul its website to enhance the synergy between its brick-and-mortar outlets and its online presence (i.e. buyers can browse on the website before visiting the shops, or drop in for demos and staff consultations before making the purchase online).

Currys & Dixons

DSG International, owner of the Currys stores and its online arm Dixons, announced a 61% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £90.5m for the year to 1 May, helped by pre-World-Cup HD TV sales and an exclusive 60-day deal to sell the Apple iPad. The electricals group also revealed that its sales of television in the United Kingdom had jumped by 40% in the month of May alone, largely driven by its “cash for goals” promotion where customers who had spent more than £599 on any HDTV were promised a £10 voucher for each goal England scores in the World Cup 2010.

The group, which adopted the name DSG International 5 years ago with the intention of resonating with international suppliers, is to change its corporate identity back to Dixons Retail due to the prevailing strength of the Dixons brand. In spite of this, its high-street stores will maintain the Currys brand name.