Currys reveals pre-Christmas sales slow down as supply strains and Omicron uncertainty take toll

Currys has revealed a pre-Christmas sales sales slowdown as supply chain strains hit the availability of some products and Omicron uncertainty threatens to further dampen demand.

Shares in the electricals-to-mobile phone retailer fell 9% on the update as the business became the latest to highlight the impact of latest fears over the new variant.

Wetherspoons has said it could slip to a half-year loss and, together with the CBI, has warned of the prospect of a “lockdown by stealth”.

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Backlog at port causing supply chain pressure

Currys chief executive Alex Baldock added to a chorus from business urging the government not to go on tightening the rules, telling Sky’s Ian King Live that there must be a “very high bar” to imposing any further restrictions on retail.

Mr Baldock said the business had a strong first half of the financial year as it reported a 20% rise in profits to £48m for the six months to the end of October though UK and Ireland sales fell.


But he said the market “has been softer over recent weeks, and we may face into further headwinds from Omicron and associated restrictions”.

Currys said it had coped well with “well-publicised global supply chain challenges” facing the industry as it made the most of its strong relationships with suppliers.

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“Nevertheless, there are costs associated with some of these mitigations, and there has been some impact on our product availability and on sales of some in-demand products,” the group said.

Mr Baldock told Sky’s Ian King Live this had affected gaming consoles as well as some computing and mobile phone offerings.

Image: Currys shares plunged

A spokesman said the shortages were “pretty isolated” and that the retailer was less affected than some others had been by supply chain problems.

The group said that while market demand had “softened in the run-up to Christmas” it had added to its share of the market while profit margins remained stable and customer satisfaction improved.

But it added: “The immediate outlook has become more uncertain, with the Omicron COVID-19 variant and associated government restrictions potentially further dampening market demand.”

Currys said it was still on track to meet recently outlined full-year profit expectations.