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AO World bets on soccer World Cup to spur TV sales

FILE PHOTO: AO distribution centre in Crewe, Cheshire

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

(Reuters) - Sales of television sets could get a boost if England reach the final stages of the 2022 soccer World Cup, the chief of AO World said on Tuesday, as upbeat profit guidance from the British online electricals retailer sent its shares soaring. The World Cup is usually played mid year, but the 2022 edition is being hosted by Qatar during the winter season there because of the heat, with the event now coinciding with peak Christmas trading for UK retailers and pub operators.

A strong tournament for England could prove a saving grace for electrical retailers such as AO World, at a time when a sharp rise in the price of everything from energy to food is forcing Britons to curtail non-essential spending.

"Any World Cup gives our business really positive momentum around sales for things like TVs ... the further they (England) go in the competition, normally the more TVs we sell," AO World founder and CEO John Roberts told Reuters.

England made a rousing start to their campaign with a 6-2 drubbing of Iran on Monday, while Wales held a higher-ranked United States to a 1-1 draw.

Bolton, northwest England-based AO World forecast adjusted core profit for the year ending March 31 at the top end of the 20-30 million pounds range outlined in August.

Shares in the company, which have slumped more than 50% so far this year, jumped about 12% in morning trade.

Numis analysts said the company had taken "swift and impressive" action on costs to help cope with tougher trading conditions. That has included job cuts in senior and middle management.

AO World said adjusted core profit for the six months ended Sept. 30 fell 11% to 9 million pounds ($10.65 million), while revenue dropped 17%.

($1 = 0.8452 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Mark Potter)