Britons Shun New Computers And TVs In Costofliving Crisis, Says Currys

Britons Shun New Computers And TVs In Costofliving Crisis, Says Currys

Currys shop seen in London © Thomson Reuters A curry shop in London

By James Davy

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons spend big on energy-efficient appliances during the Christmas shopping season, but shun computers and TVs as they face a cost-of-living crunch, electronics retailer Karis said Wednesday.

The group said like-for-like revenue at its UK and Ireland businesses fell 5% in the 10 weeks to January 7, partly reflecting the higher levels of sales seen over the past two years, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.

But he defended his financial outlook for the full year and saw his shares up 8% in morning trading, trimming losses to 38% over the past year.

"It's not been a great trading season for technology vendors, for example the PC and TV markets are in quite a tough spot," chief executive Alex Baldock told reporters, adding that demand for smart technology was also weak.

"In contrast, we are getting good results on (home) appliances and mobile devices," he said, noting very strong demand for energy-efficient appliances.

He said grill sales were up 500% year over year, while microwave sales were up 30%. Sales of heat pump dryers and energy efficient washing machines were also strong.

"In many cases, consumers are actually trading in a more expensive washing machine instead of a computer, for example, while many consumers are trading in a more expensive laptop," he said.

He said that demand for television did not increase during the World Cup.

"On television we haven't seen the number of changes (cycles) that we did in more prosperous times," he said.

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Currys last month reported a significant first-half loss and slashed its 2022-23 profit forecast, blaming a slowdown in a northern market that has faced price cuts from rivals.

On Wednesday, Karis pointed to a further decline in trade in the Nordic countries.

Profits at the UK and Ireland businesses were better than expected due to higher gross margins and cost savings, he said.

But international profit was below forecast, reflecting a 10 percent drop in sales at its Nordic business and continued pressure on gross margins.

The group said it still expects adjusted pre-tax profits of 100-125 million pounds ($123-154 million) for 2022-2023, up from 186 million pounds in 2021-22.

($1 = £0.8110)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by William James, Kate Holton and Vin Shahrestani)

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