Comet retail chain owner Kesa Electricals said it recorded strong total revenue growth of 8.2% in the quarter to end-July, up 4.3% on a like-for-like basis.
There was 28% growth in web-generated sales with strong double-digit increases in all markets, particularly Darty France at 43%.
Gross margin down 50 basis points reflecting the mix effect from the strong performance in both TV sales across the Group and multimedia sales at Comet during the period
19 stores are now successfully rebranded to Darty in Spain, nine Comet core stores refitted and a further 30 planned for Q2
Total Group revenue increased by 8.2% in euros, up 6.9% in local currency, and up 4.3% on a like-for-like basis.
Overall web-generated sales increased by 28% and now represent nearly 10% of total product sales.
Revenue growth reflected the successful implementation of our World Cup campaigns, during which we gained market share in TVs in all our major markets. This, together with growth in multimedia at Comet, led to an overall gross margin decline of 50 basis points during the period.
At Darty France, revenue increased by 7.8% in local currency and by 5.1% on a like-for-like basis. Sales growth benefited from increased sales of large screen TVs and a strong performance in small domestic appliances. Gross margin remained stable. Web-generated sales continued to grow strongly, by 43%, and now represent nearly 10% of total product sales.
Revenue at Comet increased by 6.3% in local currency and by 4.3% on a like-for-like basis. TV sales benefited from a particularly strong World Cup campaign and successful delivery of one-off initiatives in multimedia with significant market share gains in both product categories. These together resulted in downward pressure on gross margin of 180 basis points for the quarter. Web-generated sales increased by over 13% and now represent 14% of total product sales.
The quarterly sales performance at the Other established businesses, BCC, Vanden Borre and Datart, improved. Revenue increased by 3.4% in local currency and by 1.1% on a like-for-like basis. Vanden Borre continued to deliver strong sales growth and there were improved trends at both BCC and Datart with an overall increase in gross margin. Web generated sales increased by 37% and now represent 6.5% of total product sales. During the period Vanden Borre completed two refurbishments and Datart opened one new store.
The Developing businesses, Darty Italy, Darty Turkey and Darty Spain, increased total revenue by 10.9% in local currency and by 5.3% on a like-for-like basis, with a significant gross margin improvement.
CEO, Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, said: "We delivered the plans set for the World Cup with excellent TV sales in all our markets during the period, and demonstrated the strength of our concept with significantly above market sales penetration of 3D TVs. In line with our strategy there was also very strong growth in our web-generated sales and good results from the stores rebranded to Darty in Spain.
"After a positive first quarter we still anticipate that our markets will remain challenging for the remainder of this financial year, but we will maintain our momentum in delivering the benefits of the Darty concept in all our markets."
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