Dixons’ UK business returned to the black in its first half for the first time in five years.

The electricals group, which owns PC World and Currys, made an underlying profit of £5.6m in the UK business in the 24 weeks to October 13, against a £6m loss the year prior. UK like-for-likes edged up 3% over the period.

However, at a group level Dixons made an underlying pre-tax loss of £22.2m, a slight improvement on the £25.3m loss the previous year.

Total group underlying sales remained flat at £3.29bn while like-for-likes were up 3%.

Dixons group chief executive Sebastian James said: “I am particularly encouraged by our performance in the UK & Ireland and in Northern Europe and we were particularly busy during the sporting and cultural events during the summer. 

“It is increasingly clear in each of our markets that our service-based, multi-channel business model is what customers want. “

James said the retailer had also improved performance in Southern Europe and had assumed full day to day control of Pixmania and is “taking actions” to improve its poor performance. Like-for-likes in Southern Europe plunged 9% while Pixmania’s plummeted 7%.

Dixons said it had significantly reduced net debt and had undertaken a £150 million bond issue over the period.

James said it had an “exciting pipeline” of tablets, smart TVs and other technology over Christmas.