Profits at electricals group Dixons are expected to come in at the top end of expectations and the retailer’s new financial year has begun strongly.

Dixons’ performance was driven by its core UK Currys and PC World businesses and Scandinavian operations, but sales in troubled southern European countries plummeted.

Like-for-likes in the UK and Ireland jumped 8% in the 16 weeks to April 28 and were down 4% over the year.

In southern Europe, including countries caught up in economic meltdown such as Greece, like-for-likes slid 7% over the 16 week period and fell 8% over the year.

At group level like-for-likes climbed 4% in the most recent period but were down 3% over the 52 weeks.

Full-year profits are expected to be between £65m and £75m.

Dixons’ new group chief executive Sebastian James said: “Our overall group performance across the year has been slightly better than we anticipated. 

“We saw a strong end to the year particularly in the UK and Nordics, and it is good to see the work that we have been doing to improve the ranging and service bearing fruit as more customers are choosing us over our competitors.”

“We have made significant strides in the way we operate over the last four years and we know that we have a clear role, shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers as we help them to navigate the increasingly complex world of technology.”

He said that the Knowhow services business, which is now one year old, is performing ahead of expectations and differentiating Dixons from its rivals.

Dixons, which is the UK market leader, has strengthened its position over the last year after US giant Best Buy abandoned its attempts to break into the UK and floundering Comet was sold to specialist turnaround investor OpCapita.

Multichannel sales advanced 16% over the year and internet sales are now 18% of the group total.

Group gross margin was down 0.3% over the year. In the UK, margins were flat.