Electricals chain still confident
DSG International remains confident this Christmas, despite little sign of market recovery or improvement in customer sentiment.

The UK's largest electricals retailer, behind names such as The Link and Dixons, unveiled a trading update today relatively in line with analysts' expectations.

The group said total sales for the 28 weeks to November 12 rose 4 per cent, while like-for-like sales, excluding store openings, fell 3 per cent.

'There has been no further significant deterioration in our overall trading in the UK during the period, but, equally, no clear indication yet of any recovery in our markets,' said DSG chief executive John Clare.

Total UK sales fell 4 per cent, with like-for-likes decreasing by 7 per cent. Results from The Link marred the group's performance, as like-for-like sales plummeted by 28 per cent. Like-for-likes at Dixons were down 2 per cent, while Currys' fell by 3 per cent.

The retailer had some respite internationally, with total sales up by 24 per cent and like-for-likes up by 4 per cent.

Numis retail analyst Steve Davies said: 'The trend is largely as it was at the AGM in September. There is good growth in international, but the performance in the UK is still weak.'

DSG's overseas business continued to benefit from store openings during the period.

Like-for-like sales were up 10 per cent in Ireland, 5 per cent in Scandinavia and 4 per cent up at the group's Italian chain UniEuro. The retailer's Greek arm experienced a 10 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.

Clare added: 'Our international operations in aggregate continue to perform well.' On Christmas trading he said: 'The group is well prepared, our ranges and deals are strong and we are fully focused on meeting the needs of our customers. I am confident that we will perform well, relative to our competitors.'

Although this morning's figures reveal sales on a downward trend, the group remains steadfast on profits targets for the year.

Davies maintained that DSG will make pre-tax profits of about£292 million for the financial year to next April, with the switch to IFRS. He added: 'There may be relief today that the situation has not got worse, but we still do not like DSG's medium-term prospects as prices continue to drop and competition from non-specialists and web-based retailers intensifies.'