New Zealand-owned electricals retailer boosted by Christmas demand for gadgets
Sales at electricals chain PowerHouse rocketed by more than 28 per cent over the Christmas period.

The UK retailer is owned by New Zealand business Pacific Retail Group (PRG), which swiped PowerHouse out of administration in September last year. Like-for-like sales at the retailer increased 28.5 per cent in the three months to January 1. Total sales during the period rose by 13 per cent across the 123-store chain. The retailer traded from 134 stores in the equivalent period the year before.

'We are making consistent progress in taking an under-performing company and moving it through a turnaround programme,' said PRG acting chief executive Steve Smith. PRG confirmed that PowerHouse would miss the group's original target of breakeven by March 31 this year. It also estimated a£5 million EBITA loss compared with a£15.1 million loss for the same period last year.

In the latest phase of its ongoing restructuring programme, management at PowerHouse told employees two weeks ago that up to 300 jobs would go, including a 15 per cent reduction in head office staff to about 80.

PRG sold its New Zealand retail businesses and has pumped the cash into the UK chain. It also owns Bendon, the holder of the worldwide Elle Macpherson Intimates lingerie licence.