By Marcus Leach

Electrical retailer Kesa, who are in the process of selling Comet, have reported half-year losses which they attribute to challenging market conditions.

The group reported a pre-tax loss of 9.2m euros (£7.9m) for the six months to the end of October, compared to a profit of 32.4m euros a year earlier.

Financial Highlights:

– Group revenue of €2,567.5 million (2011: €2,777.7 million), a decline of 6.2% in constant currency and 7.9% on a like-for-like basis.
– Group retail loss of €9.2 million (2011: retail profit €32.4 million).
– Adjusted Group loss before tax of €13.6 million (2011: profit €25.0 million).
– Adjusted loss per share of 4.0 cents (2011: earnings per share 3.4 cents).
– Free cash out flow4 of €17.6 million with net cash at the end of the period of €38.6 million (2011: €109.5 million).
– Exceptional charges of €133.6 million in the period, largely in respect of impairment of assets at Comet (€109.9 million).
– The Board has declared an unchanged interim dividend of 2.25 cents, to be paid on 2 April 2012.

“We have experienced weakening market conditions in the first half of the year,” Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, Chief Executive, commented.

“This however has not prevented us continuing with the implementation of our strategic actions, which helped deliver overall market share gains particularly at Darty France, an improvement in gross margin and further growth in cross channel web sales.

“We again delivered a strong performance in Belgium and as we implement the Darty concept we have seen an improving trend in Turkey, the Netherlands and Spain.

“We are well prepared for peak season and in the face of the ongoing tough market conditions are adjusting our cost to serve. We will continue to focus on delivering market leading cross channel solutions to our customers, supported by our strong financial position.”

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