Group underlying profit before tax increased by 76% to £166.2 million versus £94.5 million reported last year and up 10% on a restated basis.
- Further strong progress in the UK & Ireland with underlying operating profits up 24%
- Elkjøp delivered another strong year with record sales
- Greece delivered an improved performance with some signs of stability returning to the market
Another successful year for the Group, delivering on its key objectives:
- Firm establishment of a sustainable business in a multi-channel world
- Disposals of all non-core operations, leaving the Group with leading positions in all our core markets
Proposed merger with Carphone Warehouse announced to develop a leading position across electricals, mobiles and connectivity.
- European Commission has confirmed that it has unconditionally cleared the proposed merger
Group online sales increased by 16% to £1 billion.
Customer service metrics at their highest ever recorded levels in all markets.
Return on capital employed of 16.3%, up from 14.9% in the prior year.
Group costs reduced by a further £45 million completing the two year £90 million cost reduction initiative.
Very strong cash generation with the Group ending the year with net cash increasing to £70.9 million.
Total underlying Group sales up 3% at £7.22 billion (2012/13 £7.03 billion).
Group gross margins down 0.2% in the full year, with an improvement in the second half.
Total profit before tax after non-underlying items increased by 53% to £132.9 million (2012/13 profit of £86.6 million).
Post tax non-underlying charges of £186.0 million, relating mainly to disposals of non-core operations.
Underlying diluted earnings per share 3.0 pence (2012/13 earnings of 2.6 pence)(1). Basic loss per share including discontinued operations of (1.9) pence (2012/13 loss per share of (4.5) pence).
Sebastian James, Group Chief Executive, commented:
"This has been a great year for the Group with some excellent performances across our multi-channel businesses, together with the achievement of a number of important strategic objectives. Our profits are up 76% from those we reported a year ago. This not only reflects the fact we have now exited all of our non-core markets, meaning we are now a leader in all our core markets, but is also a testament to the creativity and hard work of our teams. The Group is in robust financial health with further cash generation resulting in a strong net cash position even after the costs incurred in exiting the non-core businesses. Best of all, our customer service metrics have again reached new records.
All of this all means that the Group is stronger - both commercially and financially - than it has been for a number of years and we are well positioned to set sail into new waters. I am very excited about the opportunities that the proposed merger with Carphone Warehouse offers for the Group. We will build what I hope will be the first and best truly multi-channel proposition that allows customers not only to buy and experience the explosion of new connected products that are emerging, but to also get the advice, connectivity and services that will allow them to use technology as it should be used - to make their lives better. In turn, this will allow us profoundly to change the nature of what we do: we will move from a transactional to a lifelong relationship with customers everywhere.
In the meantime the new financial year has started well, with an uplift in TV sales driven by the World Cup, but we also believe we are seeing the early glimmers of a consumer recovery. On this there is no certainty just yet, but what we know for sure is that if we maintain a tight rein on costs, our pricing sharp - against all comers - and our service levels high, customers will continue to choose us over others."