back to article Crappy Christmas! Dixons Carphone dials back profit expectations

Dixons Carphone has slashed full-year profit estimates amid continued downward pressure on mobile phone margins over the Christmas quarter and "more cautious consumer" spending in the UK. In a Q3 trading update, DixCar confirmed group revenue was up 4 per cent year-on-year during the 10 weeks to January fuelled by trade in …

  1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    Maybe this is part of the trend of people just buying a phone and doing a sim only deal with their network, rather than dumping themselves in debt for years. There's an awful lot of cheap, but very usable landfill-price level Androids out there now. You can order a halfway decent Android off various web shops for £50 nowadays...

    1. tmTM

      and the price

      The latest tech has never been cheap, but the most recent batch of I-things took people's breath away.

      Clearly if the latest phone is over a grand most people are holding onto their current one for longer because they aren't willing to pay that kind of money.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What?! Are you actually suggesting that the problem is market glut and not the media's favorite foozle? Scandalous!

  2. adam payne

    Maybe some people have finally realised that they don't need the latest phone or gadget to feel successful.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Some, yes.

      you'll never get rid of the 'ME FIRST!!' people - though they can be handy for picking up last months flavour really cheap.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In other words, if it is working and still does the job why change it.

  3. mrdalliard

    I'd also imagine that new iPhone users would now go to an Apple Store instead, as the separate cost of phone and sim are cheaper than being fleeced by a reseller for a standard two-year overpriced contract. I've did it for my last iPhone purchase and it saved me a significant amount per month.

    Beer with the savings.

  4. Salestard

    Carriers being more aggressive methinks

    Certainly if my own experience was anything to go by...

    This month, three months before the much anticipated end of my Lumia 950 contract, O2 offer to pay off the rest of the device plan if I re-sign early.

    What could have been a look-in for Carphone with the big Nokia just turned into me staying direct with O2 on a OnePlus 5T (which I hadn't previously considered, but was cheap enough to see no increase in monthly outgoings).

    Curiously, Mrs Salestard's mobe - also with O2 - two year stint finishes in July. It's low-mid range Xperia - they're also offering to pay this off early. The only thing in Carphone's favour here is they have a much bigger midrange, erm, range than O2

  5. Graham Jordan


    Every time I read an article about Currys/PCWorld giving a bad report a little part of me gets excited. Then when I see they're still in business a week later I die inside.

    1. andy 103

      Re: Fail

      Except if that does happen there'll be a ton of unemployed people, who you'll also moan about using "your" tax money so they can feed their families. Maybe you're just never happy.

  6. peterm3

    I remember just after the Brexit vote, the head of Carphone was happy - he looked forward to the bright future after taking back control..

  7. SVV

    Sales down everywhere, profits down everywhere

    Hmmm, I know, it's all the fault of brexit, nothing to do with me, now where's my massive bonus?

  8. andy 103

    Over the last 18 years or so people have got into a mindset of buying cheap items which they replace often, or as and when new tech comes along. Phones are a great example of this.

    There is a small shift whereby people are now choosing to spend more on an item, and keep it longer. There is also a tiny but growing proportion of people who are prepared to have things repaired rather than replaced.

    Unfortunately Dixons is screwed either way with this type of scenario. When it comes to "buy cheap" pretty much any online shop can compete with them on price. Look at some of their phones/tablets/laptops for example and then look on Amazon or Ebuyer. When it comes to buying items that are more expensive but longer term investments, people want advice and service, which Dixons just can't provide. And when it comes to repairing items...well, they just don't. If you opted for your "9.99/month for the next 999 months bro" warranty at the checkout, they simply toss out whatever you're bringing back and fob you off with some other POS from the stockroom....

    1. Steve Medway

      Actually no, not true on the extended warranty. Replacement goods must be like-for-like or better from DSG or whatever they're called now.

      My old CRT TV (which coped with NTSC as well as PAL) got replaced by a 720p LCD TV which was three times the price. Why you ask? Because NTSC was needed for my Jap Gamecube and the cheapest telly they had at replacement time which did NTSC was the 720p I got.

      The same is true for items damaged on delivery - if no identical item is available they must give you an upgrade to something equivalent or better (they will obviously offer you your money back first though). This is why I have a Dell 4K monitor that was three times the price of the Acer 4K screen I actually bought.

      PCW / Currys / Dixons additional warranties can be an absolute bargain - but only on 'End of Line' or hardware with unusual specs. Don't take what a shop grunt says, read the fine print and hold them to it (which isn't difficult, rules is rules in call centres ya know :) ).

      Yes I did do a stint at PCServiceCall for my sins (many years ago), but once you know the policies on returns and warranty they really are damn good if bought on the right item.

      Oh and one final thing, most people don't haggle in the UK, which is just bloddy stupid... If you sign up for additional warranty the sales person is FAR more flexible on a discount from the sticker price -

      simply cancel after leaving the shop.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Spot the error

    In UK&I electricals, our Boxing Day sales did not quite mirror the promise of our very strong Black Friday week

    No shit, Sherlock: people only have so much money to spend so if what do you think happens when you encourage them to splurge during the sales?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Spot the error

      "people only have so much money to spend"

      This is a foreign concept to a certain breed of sales type. I offer as an example the numpties who sold me my last* car and within weeks were sending me marketing texts.

      *Most recent but quite possibly also ultimate. Being retired I do relatively low mileages so the car might outlast my driving career, miserable thought that it might be.

    2. kolkurtz

      Re: Spot the error

      I broke my phone a bit getting it into a VR headset so I'm kind of in the market for a new one. I had my eye on prices from September until today and their Boxing Day/January Sale prices were a LOT higher than Black Friday prices. Their sales aren't sales. People keep using the word, but to me and probably many others it is only a sale if its at least a third off.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    @Doctor Syntax true though we can expect more to come. There's an interesting article on this in this week's Economist which bases expected advertising rates on current share valuations: effectively an "adpocalypse"™ with spending rising to consume nearly all profits.

    Discount fests like the stupidly imported "black Friday" are one-way bets. They might move the needle temporarily on cashflow and market share. But can also end up costing more than they bring. It was surprising but refreshing to read comments from some retailers that they might scale back such activities in the future.

    Things are a bit different in the US where the potential credit risk, traditonally high because of lenient bankruptcy laws, is sold on to some sucker almost immediately.

    So, go on, make that appointment for the test drive, you know you want to…

  11. Stuart Burns

    I wont deal with them since they burnt me badly (not literally) on a duff iphone. From that day I still go there to look at the tech but if a sales droid approaches I decline and buy it online.

    Their loss as I was one of those consumers who would buy things quite regularly. No longer. They cant go out of business soon enough for me.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you're shit and can't do your job.......

    Blame Brexit.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the cr*p customer service you idiots!!!

    This is a true story and I have the E-Mails to prove it.

    I hadn't dealt with any part of the Dixons Group for over a decade as their definition of customer service makes serial killers look like well adjusted human beings.

    Around Christmas there was a very good special offer on Samsung WAM speakers and I wanted quite a few to add to my existing setups. When I saw the offer was only available from Currys/PC World my heart sank, after an hour of quite serious contemplation and against my better judgment I decided to place an order.

    This is immediately where it started to go wrong and I should have stopped then.

    One of the speakers was in stock for delivery so I ordered some of them

    The only way to order others was click and collect in store, so I spent nearly an hour trying to track down a store that had enough of the speakers for me to go and collect.

    Eventually I found stock in a store about a 90 mile drive from me, however, when I tried to place a click and collect order the item was showing the incorrect non discounted price and as most of the other stores were out of stock I had concerns that I would drive there and then find that the stock system was showing the wrong numbers and they didn't really have the stock or there would be a disagreement about how much I should pay.

    So I try calling the store, well you cant do that anymore, instead you get put through to a call centre. They tried calling the store only to come back and tell me that although they'd tried three different numbers that no-one was picking up instore. They then offered to E-Mail the store directly explaining the situation and attaching URGENT to the E-Mail title for someone to contact me.

    Of course I heard nothing back, so called the call centre again first thing the following morning and sat in a phone queue that doesn't give you any idea how long you might have to wait or how many callers are in front of you (more informative call centre queues have existed for decades, you'd think a supposedly tech savvy company would know this and implement it for it's customers convenience).

    The call centre staff member tried to be helpful but could only repeat the experience of the day before, they also tried to call the store on multiple numbers without success and offered to send another E-Mail marked URGENT.

    Waiting till 4pm in the afternoon and still hearing nothing back I called again and eventually spoke to an individual who said there was nothing more he could do while insisting on calling me mate (who trains these people?), I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told he could only transfer me to complaints which he did. After waiting a further twenty five minutes in this call queue with no idea how much longer it would be I gave up and E-Mailed them an extensive list of questions instead and made it clear I wanted a written response.

    Four days later I received an automatic acknowledgment E-Mail asking me to call if my issues haven't been resolved.

    I replied stating my issues haven't been resolved and I want the matter dealt with via E-Mail.

    The following day I do get a personalised response, with what can at best be described as a non reply reply, "blah blah blah ....highest standards of customer service.... blah blah blah, blah blah ....your reservation will have now expired....blah blah, blah blah ......we're sorry here's a £20 voucher to buy you off (the total amount I was ordering was over £1000 of speakers)..... blah blah". However four of the questions I had asked in my E-Mail four days earlier hadn't even been answered.

    So of course I respond yet again and at this stage tell them to cancel the 'for delivery' part of the order as there's no point me taking delivery if I can't have the whole order.

    Five days later I still haven't received a response so send a follow up reminder E-Mail.

    The next day I do again receive a personalised response that address's some of the questions I had raised, it also states that the fact the E-Mails marked urgent sent to the store would be investigated, but they wouldn't be able to share the results of the investigation with me, they're very sorry and will look to ensure my experience is fed back into their customer service reviews (yet another non reply reply in my book).

    I respond saying that non of the points I raised has been answered to my satisfaction.

    I receive no response to this E-Mail, so after waiting a week I ask where is the refund for the part of the order that was supposed to be delivered but then subsequently canceled (I never took receipt of the 'for delivery' part of the order).

    Three days later I receive a response saying they're awaiting the parcel to be booked back into their system before they can issue the refund, now to be clear, this is twenty one days since the order was placed and fifteen days since the order was canceled (at no time was the parcel in my possession as could be clearly shown by checking the courier tracking information).

    I send a LETTER BEFORE ACTION via E-Mail telling them unless the refund is in my account by close of business within six days I'll immediately issue proceedings to recover my monies and for time and expenses.

    Three days later I receive a response assuring me the refund will be resolved within twenty four hours and sure enough it finally is.

    Now all of this probably reads like a long drawn out diatribe, the point is DON'T deal with any part of Dixons group for this reason alone THEY DON'T GIVE A FUCK!!!

    These days I probably do 90% of my consumer electronics products shopping with John Lewis, not that they're perfect, but they do price match and I know that if I complain (happened once in maybe twelve years) it'll be dealt with in a timely manner and their staff will go the extra mile to actually resolve the issues I raise.

    So after not dealing with Dixons group for over a decade, their one chance to convert me back to a customer they messed up on more levels then even I could have imagined possible.

    Organisational incompetence and poor attitude comes from the very top, in Dixons Groups case the senior managers and directors clearly have loads of it to share amongst the rest of the organisation.

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