Electricals group Dixons’ like-for-like sales slid in its core UK market over Christmas but the retailer said it performed better than rivals.

Dixons, owner of Currys and PC World, reported a 7% fall in like-for-likes in the UK and Ireland in the 12 weeks to January 7. Total UK and Ireland sales were down 6%. The retailer’s service business, Knowhow, did well.

At group level the like-for-like decline for the period was 5% and total sales slipped 3%. Gross margins were flat across the group.

Dixons chief executive John Browett said: “This is a solid performance against a challenging backdrop. 

“Our service-led business model continues to win over customers in all our key markets. We have made significant progress with Knowhow and see further opportunities to develop our services offering. 

“Our multi-channel offer is going from strength to strength with customers appreciating the benefits of our Reserve & Collect model.”

Dixons said that in the UK there had been strong trading ahead of Christmas and that the timing of last year’s VAT rise distorted the post-Christmas picture.

The trading climate has been tough for electricals groups. Best Buy closed its UK big-boxes last weekend and Kesa has sold Comet for £2.

Panmure analyst Philip Dorgan said of Dixons’ update: “The most important trading period of the year is now over and, with other retailers dropping like flies, these numbers have to be mildly encouraging and there is o profit warning.”