Electricals market leader Dixons Retail has posted interim results in line with expectations but cautioned that consumer confidence remains fragile.

Dixons Retail, owner of the Currys and PC World chains in the UK and businesses such as Elkjop overseas, reported a first-half underlying pre-tax loss of £7.9m – a big improvement on the £17.6m comparable figure last year. Group sales were flat at £3.35bn and like-for-likes edged up 1%.

At the core UK and Ireland division turnover was down 1% to £1.62bn but like-for-likes rose 2% and losses were cut from £16m to £10.7m. The retailer benefited at the beginning of the period from the World Cup, which helped TV sales, and the launch of Apple’s iPad. The second quarter was “challenging” but Currys and PC World traded ahead of the market.

Dixons chief executive John Browett said: “Our complete focus on our customers and on consistently delivering value, choice and service continues. We remain cautious on the economic outlook across many of our markets, as consumer confidence remains low.

“However, we have maintained our momentum in transforming the group and are performing ahead of the market. We remain excited about the technology pipeline and the superb ranges and deals we will offer customers this Christmas.”

As trailed ahead of the update, Dixons is to rebrand its TechGuys service as Knowhow “to provide customers with a clearly identifiable end-to-end service proposition and to engage with a wider base of service needs”.

The retailer said its store transformation programme is on track. In the UK it has overhauled 250 shops and now has 25 megastores.