Electricals retailer cautious about second quarter
Kesa revealed sales rose 7.4 per cent, with like-for-likes up 4.3 per cent in the three months to April 30, after strong sales in February and March.

However, Kesa - Europe's third-largest electricals retailer, which operates as Comet in the UK - said that sales were weaker in April and it remains cautious about trading in the second quarter.

At Comet, revenue increased 4.9 per cent, with like-for-likes up 2.7 per cent, driven by the continued strong demand for new technologies and growth in the sale of white goods. During the quarter, Comet opened two stores and refurbished three, all of which trade with a mezzanine floor. In March, the group highlighted the success of mezzanine floors, which have helped to increase sales by 50 per cent. The retailer said it will have opened nine of the 10 stores planned for this year by the end of the first half.

Kesa chief executive Jean-Nöel Labroue said: 'All our businesses delivered good revenue performance during the quarter. However, against the very strong comparatives of last year - when the World Cup triggered significant demand for flatscreen TVs - we anticipate weaker like-for-like sales in our second quarter.

'While consumer confidence in Europe appears positive, it remains uncertain in the UK. We therefore remain focussed on margin management and cost control, while accelerating the investment in our existing businesses and start-up operations to secure our future revenue and profits growth.'

Seymour Pierce analyst Andrew Wade said: 'This performance exceeded our expectations, coming against some stronger comparatives. However, this first quarter is the least significant period and the real litmus test will come against the World Cup flatscreen comparatives. We are not changing our full-year forecasts as a result of this.'