Sales rush lifts Comet owner

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The Independent Online

The owner of the Comet electricals chain today said strong post-Christmas trading helped limit a decline in UK like-for-like sales to 2.5 per cent.

Kesa endured weak trading at its Comet stores during November and December, but a late rush to the shops by bargain hunters meant overall sales for Comet were down just 0.4 per cent in the period between 1 November and 8 January.

The European electricals business, which also trades as Darty in France, described market conditions in the UK as "very aggressive" and said the impact of price promotions meant margins were well down on a year earlier.

Overall, group revenues were down 5.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the impact of changes in store space.

Chief executive Jean-Noel Labroue said trading conditions across all Kesa's market were very tough, with a further deterioration in continental Europe. However, he said Comet continued to make progress in stock and cash management.

Shares were more than 2 per cent higher following today's update.