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TMCNet:  Lots of festive cheer predicted for Dixons [Herald, The (Scotland)]

[December 16, 2013]

Lots of festive cheer predicted for Dixons [Herald, The (Scotland)]

(Herald, The (Scotland) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) As investors begin to wind down for Christmas, attention will turn this week to shopping and the performance of Currys and PC World in particular.

Demand for tablet computers and white electrical goods will help Currys and PC World parent Dixons Retail notch up a robust first half performance tomorrow as it continues to benefit from the demise of rival Comet.

Experts have cautioned Dixons has a tough act to follow in 2014 after a significant boost to this year's results from a lack of competition.

They are expecting UK & Ireland underlying earnings to more than quadruple from pound(s)5.6 million to around pound(s)25m in the first half after a rise of between 8% to 9% in like-for-like sales.

Barclays experts are predicting sales to have risen by as much as 12% in the group's second quarter.

As well as continued growth in tablet sales, they said Dixons has also benefited in particular from more white goods sales in the wake of Comet's demise, with these electricals now accounting for close to 30% of its revenues.

Group-wide results are expected to show a reversal of last year's pound(s)22.2m underlying half-year loss, with analysts at Numis Securities pencilling in profits of around pound(s)5m.

Dixons figures were dragged lower by its troubled European arm PIXmania, but the group has since offloaded the business, as well as its loss-making ElectroWorld chain in Turkey.

Morgan Stanley experts are predicting a 5% hike in UK Christmas sales and said the year ahead could be boosted by television sales ahead of the World Cup, as well as the launch of two new games consoles.

But they cautioned: "We think most of the strong like-for-like sales growth Dixons has enjoyed over the last 12 months has been Comet-related and are very conscious that this benefit is annualising." Transport group National Express will reveal tomorrow how trading has fared since an impressive third quarter when it saw record numbers of passengers over the August bank holiday.

The group delivered a 9% hike in UK coach revenues in its core express business as demand for late summer getaways fuelled a surge in airport journeys.

National Express, which operates coach, bus and rail services in the UK as well as Europe, North Africa and North America, said overall revenues grew 5% in the third quarter, and confirmed it was on target to deliver full-year growth.

Since then, the group has been shortlisted to bid for the ScotRail franchise, which operates 95% of passenger train services in Scotland linking all the major cities.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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