Chain sees huge surge in demand for laptops and TVs ahead of lockdown

Currys PC World Carphone Warehouse at the Interchange Retail Park at Copdock in Ipswich Picture: GO

Currys PC World Carphone Warehouse at the Interchange Retail Park at Copdock in Ipswich Picture: GOOGLEMAPS - Credit: Archant

An electrical retailer saw sales soar as Britons raced to buy laptops and TVs ahead of the coronavirus lockdown.

DixonsCarphone said its electrical sales rocketed by more than a third in recent weeks, with UK and Ireland like-for-like electrical sales 35% higher in the three weeks to March 21, with a 72% jump in online trade.

The group operates a number of brands includes Currys and PC World, with stores in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea.

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As well as a surge in sales of equipment for home working, such as laptops and printers, TVs and gaming consoles, fridges, freezers and kitchen appliances were also in high demand.

Dixons had already announced it is axing its 531 network of Carphone Warehouse standalone stores, with the loss of 2,900 jobs.

But it posted a 10% rise in overall UK and Ireland electrical sales over the 11 weeks to March 21, with total sales up 4%.

All its stores have been closed since March 24, but it has seen “very strong” online trading, which is helping offset the lost store trade.

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However, the closed stores had been expected to contribute around £400m worth of sales for the rest of the year and has warned that annual profits would miss forecasts – even after the online boost.

“Online trading has been very strong in all countries over the last two weeks as people have been preparing to work from home and use essential technology to continue their lives during the coronavirus outbreak,” it said.

“Early signs are that this strong trading has continued since stores closed and will help to compensate for lost store sales.”

It had been taking “additional steps to protect colleagues as we work to satisfy high customer demand for essential technology products and services”.

The firm has already said that the closure of Carphone Warehouse stores was not due to the coronavirus crisis and was aimed at helping to turn around its loss-making UK mobile business.

Its most recent sales figures showed UK and Ireland mobile sales plummeted by 15% in the 11 weeks to March 21 and were down 24% in the final three weeks.

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