Dixons Carphone defends chief’s record despite plunge in value

Laura Onita
Chief executive Seb James:

Dixons Carphone boss Seb James defended his record at the helm on Monday despite the business losing almost half its value since its 2014 mega-merger.

“I think our view, collectively, is that this has worked out very well,” said James, who is leaving the electrical goods and mobile phones retailer to be the UK boss of Boots. “Everybody’s happy.”

James was instrumental in the merger between Currys PC World owner Dixons and Carphone Warehouse, which was designed to fend off competition from online rivals. However, the combined business is now worth £2.2 billion, down from £3.8 billion four years ago. James had run Dixons since 2012, having joined the company in 2008.

Chairman Lord Livingston said James did a “tremendous job” and profits have been more robust under his watch. The company today said same-store sales in the UK and Ireland were up 3% in the 10 weeks to January 6, but admitted that Boxing Day was a let-down after a strong Black Friday.

Pressure on margins led to a review of its full-year profit forecasts, now expected to be between £365 million to £385 million, against £360 million to £400 million. Total same-store sales rose 6%, lifted by Greece and the Nordics.

Finance chief Humphrey Singer said earlier this month that he was leaving Dixons Carphone for the same role at Marks & Spencer.

Investors called for the departure of both James and Singer last summer after the company warned over profits as consumers held off upgrading their smartphones. Dixons Carphone said it was part of the normal succession planning.

Alex Baldock, currently chief executive of Very.co.uk and Littlewoods owner Shop Direct, will take over in April.

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