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Currys appoints new chief to warm up its troubled Nordics business

The UK’s biggest electrical goods retailer has trouble up north (Provided by Currys)
The UK’s biggest electrical goods retailer has trouble up north (Provided by Currys)

The UK’s biggest electronics retailer has appointed a new regional chief for its troubled Nordic business as it moves to turn the unit around amid heavy competition from rivals there.

Currys said Fredrik Tønnesen will step up from chief operating officer to take over from Erik Sønsterud, who is stepping down as regional CEO “with immediate effect”.

Heavy discounting on pricing in Sweden, Denmark and Norway came in part as local rivals there sold off excess stock as they withdrew from Russian markets. Currys previously described the discounting as “desperate and said it “crashed pricing” across the market, which meant “nobody was much, if any, money”.

Today, it said the Nordics performance was “weaker” and “remains very challenging” in a “tough consumer environment”, with “high cost inflation and unrelenting competitive intensity.” But it added that “decisive action” was “underway”.

Alex Baldock, group CEO, said: “Our Nordics performance is not where we want or expect it to be. The intensity of competition may be unrelenting, but we’re no stranger to tough markets and aggressive competitors ... We now need to go further and faster to improve our performance.”

The FTSE 250 company added that it had “driven margin improvements” and cut staff numbers at its local head office and back office by between 10% and 15%, with further action on costs planned. It said they would cost between £15 million and £20 million, incurred in the 2023/24 financial year.

Currys stood by its group profit guidance for the year, saying it would be “broadly in line” with consensus forecasts of £104 million, albeit at the lower end of the previously guided range of £100 million to £125 million.”

Its shares fell over 2p to 69.30p, a drop of over 3%.