Electricals giant DSGi has become the first victim of harsh Christmas trading conditions and issued a profit warning.

The retailer, which runs the Currys and PC World chains in the UK, posted a group like-for-like sales fall of 1 per cent in the 11 weeks to December 29. Total group sales climbed 5 per cent.

Comparable store sales were flat at the UK electricals division and plummeted 10 per cent at the computing arm. Extensive promotions pushed the group margin down 0.3 per cent.

Problems continued at DSGi’s troubled Italian UniEuro business, which posted an 11 per cent like-for-like sales decline , but e-commerce sales advanced 31 per cent.

DSGi chairman Sir John Collins said profit forecasts would be missed by between£40 million and£50 million. He blamed the setback on disappointing seasonal trading “reflecting generally weak consumer environments across many of our markets” and said he was adopting a “more cautious outlook” for the rest of the year.

Analysts believe that the retailer’s new chief executive, John Browett (pictured), is likely to shut almost a third of DSG’s UK stores as he remoulds the business to adapt to a trading environment transformed by the rise of online retail and technological convergence.