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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 16:58 GMT
Carphone lifted by buoyant sales
Carphone Warehouse stores
Sales of new models have boosted Carphone Warehouse
Mobile phone sales remain buoyant, retailer Carphone Warehouse has said after reporting healthy growth in first-half sales and profits.

Phone sales through its shops rose 23% to more than 2.7 million connections in the six months to 25 September.

The wide range of new phones boosted pre-tax profits before exceptional items by 38% to 28.1m ($51.6m).

However, the firm's shares fell 7p, or 4%, to 160p as analysts worried about a fall in profits from pre-paid sales.

Positive outlook

Carphone said its sales outlook for the important pre-Christmas trading period and early 2005 was positive.

"The Carphone Warehouse has delivered another good set of results, reflecting our focus on choice, service and value for our customers, the buoyant mobile market and the success of our fixed line services," said chief executive Charles Dunstone.

People are likely to be looking for an excuse to take profits
Nick Bubb, Evolution Beeson Gregory

Total revenues for the six months to 25 September rose 25% to 1.03bn, boosted by a 22% rise in sales through the company's chain of 1,329 stores.

Like-for-like retail sales, which exclude the impact of new stores, rose 11.7%.

Good run

Carphone said it had signed up 650,000 fixed-line customers for its TalkTalk service over the past 18 months.

However, profits from sales of pre-paid phones fell 13% to 24.9 following increased competition.

"It is a highly rated stock and highly rated stocks need a constant diet of good news and this is too mixed for that," one analyst, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

"They have had a good run recently and people are likely to be looking for an excuse to take profits," said Nick Bubb, an analyst with Evolution Beeson Gregory.

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