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Wednesday, January 13, 1999 Published at 08:49 GMT

Business: The Company File

Dixons to create 2,000 jobs

The group's move into the internet business has proved popular

The UK's biggest electrical retailer, Dixons, is to create 2,000 new full and part-time jobs this year.

Some 70% of the jobs will be in shops around the country, with the rest in engineering and computing, including support of Freeserve, the company's new free internet access product.

Sir Stanley Kalms: New technology really taking off
The group said Freeserve, launched in September last year, had attracted 900,000 subscribers in its first 16 weeks, making it the UK's largest Internet service provider. The subscriber base has almost doubled since November.

The company said it had created 2,000 jobs in 1998 and expected to create a similar number in 1999.

Christmas sales up

Dixons also said that sales over Christmas were up 3%, excluding new shop space and profits were up 5% in the first half of its current trading year.

[ image: TV sales were down ahead of the introduction of digital services]
TV sales were down ahead of the introduction of digital services
Chairman Sir Stanley Kalms said Christmas sales of personal computers, games and mobile phones were strong, but domestic appliances remained slow.

"In a highly competitive market, gross margins were slightly lower than in the same period last year."

Mr Kalms said he expected 1999 to be "another year of progress" for the group.

Dixons' performance over Christmas marked a turnaround from last year, when sales fell 4% after a slump in personal computer sales.

Sales figures were in line with City forecasts. Dixons had been expected to do well in December because of buoyant demand for consumer electronics.

Profits before tax and exceptional items for the 28 weeks to mid-November rose to £80.9m from £77.1m. Total sales increased 11% to £1.43bn. The dividend was increased to 3.5p, up 21%.

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