January 26, 2016 / 7:13 AM / 2 years ago

Dixons Carphone edges up profit forecast on strong Christmas

People wait outside a Currys PC World shop before the early opening of the Black Friday sales on Tottenham Court Road in London, November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer electricals and mobile phone retailer Dixons Carphone (DC.L) edged up its guidance for annual profit on the back of strong Christmas trading, it said on Tuesday.

The firm said it expected a 2015-16 pretax profit of 440-450 million pounds ($625-$639 million) versus analysts’ previous average forecast of 440 million pounds and the 381 million pounds made in 2014-15.

Dixons Carphone, which trades as Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse in the UK and Ireland, Elkjop and El Giganten in Nordic countries and Kotsovolos in Greece, said sales at stores open over a year rose 5 percent in the 10 weeks to Jan. 9.

That was ahead of analysts’ average forecast of a rise of 3 percent.

Like-for-like sales rose 5 percent, 3 percent and 9 percent in the UK & Ireland, Nordics and Southern Europe divisions respectively, with market share won in all territories.

Dixons Carphone, formed through a merger in 2014, also updated on strategic progress, signalling an intention to bring its three brands under one roof.

It said it would merge the remaining PC World and Currys stores and insert a Carphone Warehouse offering, which would reduce store numbers by 134 but result in an anticipated neutral or better impact on sales and staff numbers.

The move will require investment of 50 million pounds and a provision of about 70 million pounds in 2015-16, but boost profit by about 20 million pounds from the 2017-18 year.

The group also said the Sprint (S.N) store trial in the United States had been successful and it had reached agreement to activate the full joint venture to manage a targeted 500 stores.

A new distribution agreement with TalkTalk (TALK.L) in the UK has also been signed.

Shares in the firm, up 10 percent over the last year, closed Monday at 467.1 pence, valuing the business at 5.4 billion pounds.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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