Carphone first-half sales boosted by UK demand

LONDON Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:57am GMT

A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a Carphone Warehouse shop in central London June 8, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A man speaks on a mobile phone in front of a Carphone Warehouse shop in central London June 8, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - Carphone Warehouse CPW.L, Europe's biggest independent mobile phone retailer, posted a 1.6 percent rise in underlying sales at its core European unit, ahead of expectations for a decline in the first six months of the year.

The rise in sales at CPW Europe stores open for more than a year, driven by UK promotions in postpay products and smartphone demand, compared with a company-compiled consensus forecast of a 2 percent decline for the six months to September 30.

Underlying sales in its second quarter rose 5 percent, having declined 2 percent in the first three months of the year.

"We have substantially increased our market share of UK postpay volumes and, while the prepay market remains weak, we hope for an improvement in the second half as the product pipeline continues to broaden," chief executive Roger Taylor said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group reiterated its forecast for 2012/13 headline earnings before interest and tax for CPW Europe of 130-150 million pounds, flat earnings at Virgin Mobile France (VMF) and group underlying earnings per share of between 11.5 pence and 13 pence.

Revenue at VMF rose 9.2 percent at constant currency terms in the period.

Group pretax profit grew 30 percent to 8.6 million pounds ($13.67 million), ahead of a company compiled consensus forecast of 4.9 million pounds.

Shares in the firm, up nearly 30 percent over the last six months, closed at 175.5 pence on Tuesday, valuing the business at around 835 million pounds.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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