Growth in online business and surge in demand for tablet computers lift like-for-like sales figures
Dixons Retail and Home Retail Group have both reported strong Christmas sales figures today.
Electrical retailer Dixons has posted an eight per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period.
Dixons Retail, which also owns the Currys and PC World brands, delivered a strong performance in the 12 weeks to January 5 despite having to compete with an administrator-led clearance sale at rival Comet.
Dixons said sales of tablet computers had been "phenomenal" in the 12-week reporting period.
However, margins were down 0.5 per cent in the period as a result of lower mark-ups on tablets computers than on laptops.
Dixons said it expected underlying profits for the year to be in line with market expectations of between £75 million and £85 million.
Chief executive Sebastian James said the group had ultimately benefited from the demise of Comet, which was forced into administration last November.
Dixons Group said it was prompted to take on 500 permanent staff from Comet to capitalise on a surge in new customers from Comet's collapse.
Dixons had also taken on more than 1000 temporary staff from Comet over the Christmas period.
Argos owner Home Retail Group, also reporting its Christmas retail figures today, said like-for-like sales rose by 2.7 per cent on last year, largely from the success of its makeover of its online business.
The retailer, reporting figures for the 18 weeks to January 5, said online sales now account for 42 per cent of its entire business, which was revamped last October with new smartphone apps and the introduction of a click and collect service.
Argos sales rose to £1.74 billion in the 18-week reporting period, up 1.6 per cent after taking into account store closures in the past year.
However, the Homebase DIY division saw sales decline by 4.5 per cent to £453 million or 3.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Home Retail Group said its full-year profits for the year to March would likely exceed analysts' expectations of £73 million profits by around £10 million.
Shares in Home Retail Group rose 14 per cent in early trading today while Dixons Retail were down 1.5 per cent.