Dixons Carphone boss Seb James insists it is business as usual for the retailer, despite wavering consumer confidence in the wider industry.

As Dixons Carphone unveiled a 4% increase in UK and Ireland fourth-quarter like-for-likes, James dismissed the idea that reduced consumer confidence and economic uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum will have a negative impact on business, as long as customers continue to be “tempted” by what it has to offer.

James said: “Our view is that consumers are ready to spend but have – rightly – become more canny, and so need to be tempted with great deals and exciting new products.”

He added that the situation was “encouraging” because it would allow the newly merged company to play to its strengths.

“Launching new technology well, creating fun events and coming up with great deals for customers in both the digital and physical worlds is our stock-in-trade,” he said.

Speaking after the trading update, James said: “Our sense is that if you just sit on your arse, nothing happens and customers don’t come out. We work with suppliers to do extraordinary things and that’s the only thing you can do to get customers.”

EU referendum

James said the impact of the referendum on consumer confidence is “hard to call” because “there is not an identical country with no referendum happening” with which to compare it, but that the business does see “volatility at all times in customer behaviour”.

“We are in highly industrialised Western economies with not much underlying growth and we’re not seeing massive new shifts in technology, so generally speaking we don’t expect the markets to do us any favours,” he said.

James added that the business’s success came instead from “growth in market share” and that he anticipates this being the case “for the foreseeable future”.

The year ahead

Speaking about the biggest challenges for Dixons Carphone over the next 12 months, James said: “We’ve just got to crack on. Our plans are enormously ambitious and complicated, and we’ve got to execute against those impeccably.”

The retailer is keen to make sure the launch of its services offer, due to be piloted in Leeds this summer, is a “stonking success” and is focused on its Sprint roll-out.

Dixons Carphone, which does business in the Nordic countries and southern Europe, plans to go into more detail at its full-year results on June 29 – six days after the EU referendum vote.