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Supply issues affect Currys over peak period

Getting hold of products and dealing with changing customer preferences have not been confined to the enterprise market, with retailer Currys suffering from supply shortages

Supply challenges and component shortages have plagued the industry throughout the past year, and those operating at the consumer tech end of the spectrum have also been affected.

Currys recently issued an update covering its peak trading period – the 10 weeks ended 8 January – to investors, and described the key Christmas weeks as being a soft market.

Comparing the performance with the pre-pandemic period, the year-on-year (YoY) numbers showed a 4% improvement in revenue for the group, but a 2% decline in the UK and Ireland (UK&I).

As well as navigating the pandemic, shortages and changing customer demands, the business is also transforming, with 79% growth in UK&I online sales in the peak timeframe and signs that gaming had also grown over the festive period.

Alex Baldock, group chief executive at Currys, said that the technology market had been “challenging this Christmas” and listed some of the causes as “uneven customer demand and supply disruption”.

“Against this backdrop, Currys’ colleagues showed their resilience and the strong business we’ve built. We gained market share, improved customer satisfaction, traded profitably, and can look ahead with confidence,” he said.

“Customer demand for some tech was strong. This was a gamers’ Christmas, the year that virtual reality broke into the mainstream, and when consoles flew off the shelves. Oculus Quest 2 and PS5 were stars. Appliances large and small also enjoyed strong sales, as consumers continued to kit out their homes. Still, the overall UK tech market was down 10% compared to last year’s peak period.”

He added that Currys was keeping on top of margin, costs and stocks.

Looking ahead, the retailer indicated that although the market conditions remained challenging, it had exited its peak trading period in a strong position and was feeling fairly confident about the prospects for 2022.

The firm has also been focusing on lowering cash, exceptional costs and getting better exit terms on empty stores as it looked to continue the transformation of the business.

“Nobody is resting here, of course, and much hard work lies ahead. We can see the prize of a Currys that is world class for colleagues, customers, shareholders and society, a Currys that helps everyone enjoy amazing technology. That’s the Currys we’re building,” added Baldock.

Earlier this week, Argos owner Sainsburys shared similar sentiments about supply chain issues having an effect on its third quarter for the 16 weeks ended 8 January, with Simon Roberts, chief executive at the supermarket giant, also noting a shift to more online sales.

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