Carphone Warehouse has reported a “very satisfactory start to the year” despite a like-for-like sales fall at the eponymous division.
The retailer said that Carphone Warehouse Europe’s total connections fell 5.5% in the period, when like-for-likes slid by 3.3%. The sales decline was in line with expectations and Carphone Warehouse reaffirmed its full-year financial guidance.
A weak pre-pay market and move to 24-month contracts in the UK hit domestic performance but that was partly counterbalanced by a stronger showing from stores on the Continent.
Carphone Warehouse has increasingly been converting its shops to the ‘wireless world’ store format, devoting more space to a wider range of products including tablet computers, and said the model was working well.
Chief executive Roger Taylor said: “We saw the first material impact of tablet sales in the quarter, driven by some exciting product launches and the take-up of smartphone tethered bundles.
“Our ‘wireless world’ format is ideally suited to offer a wider range of products, including tablets. The roll-out of this format remains a key focus and is progressing well. Those stores converted to date are producing excellent customer feedback and strong financial returns.”
The retailer said that its Best Buy Mobile business in the US, run in partnership with US electricals giant Best Buy, “delivered strong like-for-like sales growth” and total connections increased by 12.3% to 1.6m.
There was no news on the future of the fledgling Best Buy big-box business in the UK, which is being reviewed.
Taylor said it had been “altogether, a very satisfactory start to the year” and that Carphone is “well positioned strategically and operationally to capitalise on the strong product cycle we continue to experience.”