Dixons Carphone has warned it will likely miss its own profit guidance this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, the electronics retailer said online sales were up due to more people working from home.
The firm issued the trading update due to the rapidly changing situation regarding COVID-19.
Dixons stores closed
In line with Government guidance the retailer closed its stores across the UK and Ireland from 24 March. This follows store closures in Greece from 18 March. At present almost all stores in the Nordics continue to trade.
Dixons said that its online boost, the loss of sales from its closed stores will adversely impact its full year profitability.
It said it “will not achieve our previous guidance for current year adjusted PBT of £210m or for net debt to be lower year-on-year.”
The firm’s online operations remain open, and Dixons said trading there 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.
Laptop and printers sales up
Sales of equipment for home working such as laptops and printers were up; as were home entertainment items such as TVs and Gaming equipment as well as fridges, freezers and kitchen appliances.
Early signs are that this strong trading has continued since stores closed and will help to compensate for lost store sales, Dixons said.
“There is no bigger concern for our business than our colleague safety”, the firm said in the update.
“Over recent weeks we have been taking additional steps to protect colleagues as we work to satisfy high customer demand for essential technology products and services.
Dixons said it will stand by its colleagues throughout this crisis. “With the Government’s help, we expect to keep paying those who work in our stores during these temporary closures.
“We remain committed to our ongoing strategic transformation. We are determined to continue to create an even better business as we emerge from this period of uncertainty.”
In the 11 weeks from 5 January to 21 March Group Electricals like-for-like sales were up 8%. This included a strong recent uplift, with Electricals LFL sales growth running at +23% in the last three weeks.
Dixons said it has seen very good sales of equipment for home working (laptops, printers); and also for home entertainment (TVs, Gaming) and for home living (fridges, freezers, kitchen appliances).
“The COVID-19 situation continues to develop and is likely to remain uncertain for some time.
“We will therefore not update current year or medium-term guidance until the impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer.
Dixons Carphone shares were trading 1.5% 81.8p in London earlier on Thursday.