Carphone reports smartphone boost

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Carphone Warehouse said it recorded a “good start” to its 2010/11 financial year thanks to uptake of smartphones and is on target with strategic goals

Carphone Warehouse chief executibe Roger Taylor said the company has had a “good start to the year” thanks in part to the smartphone boom, with positive signs of growth across the business.

Carphone Warehouse Group revenue grew 2.7 per cent to £794 million in the 13 weeks to July 3. Revenue growth was 3.7 per cent at a constant currency rate.

Carphone Warehouse said it benefited from the uptake of smartphones in Europe, which drove sales, but lower sales of value prepay phones saw connections in the quarter decline by 1.1 per cent to just under 2.7 million compared to just over 2.7 million in the same period last year.

Total store numbers fell slightly from 2,450 to 2,436 in the quarter, but Carphone Warehouse said it remains on course to have 100 Wireless World stores by March 2011, and is now looking to take elements of the new format and incorporate it across its remaining estate.

In addition, Carphone Warehouse said the introduction of three Best Buy stores to the UK has proved successful during the trading period, with three further stores and a nationwide online platform to be introduced later this year.

The 47.5 per cent stake Carphone Warehouse has in Virgin Mobile France returned revenue of €93 million (£77.5 million), up 101.1 per cent from €46 million (£38.3 million) last year, while subscriber numbers increased by 48.1 per cent to 1.7 million, although the 2009 figures exclude the impact of Tele2’s customer base.

Carphone Warehouse also reported Best Buy Mobile US, in which it has a profit sharing agreement, saw connections increase 29.7 per cent to 1.4 million as its store presence increased 9.3 per cent. This included a 125 per cent increase in standalone Best Buy Mobile outlets from 40 in the 13 weeks to July 3, 2009 to 90 in the first quarter of 2010.

Taylor (pictured) said: “In our Carphone stores across Europe, we are benefiting from the increasing penetration and usage of smartphones and the cascading of smart features into phones at all price points.

“In the US, Best Buy Mobile is continuing its rapid growth, and we remain confident about its strong long-term prospects.

“Virgin Mobile in France is delivering on the promise of its Tele2 acquisition, with the integration well advanced and the business delivering good profit and cash flow.”

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