Currys warns about Xmas nightmare: The sales of electronics retailer Electronics is suffering as people shun High Street in fear from Omicron.

Currys, an electronics retailer, has shocked investors by declaring that its sales had slowed in the lead-up to Christmas.

While London-listed retail companies usually wait until after Christmas to modernize the City, Chief Executive Alex Baldock wanted to know what their challenges are.

The slowdown was attributed to Covid’s further restrictions. He also said that customers were too anxious to shop. 

Curry's chief exec Alex Baldock (pictured) blamed the slowdown on the introduction of further Covid restrictions

Alex Baldock, Curry’s Chief Executive Officer (pictured), blamed the slowdown for the implementation of additional Covid restrictions

He said: ‘Customers are understandably listening to the mood music around Omicron and Government restrictions, which isn’t exactly positive.

‘Some might be more reluctant to go into high streets and shopping centres. This is understandable. How that pans out we’ll see.’

He called on the Government not to impose further restrictions on retailers, saying there was ‘zero evidence of public health risk’ in stores and the Government would need an ‘unanswerable public health case’ to close them, given the implications for jobs and the economy.

He said: ‘I would counsel those in decision-making circles to think very carefully before you start taking chances with what could be such a powerful engine of recovery.

‘We are in a good position to power the recovery and are not asking for handouts. We just want to trade.’

There were fears in the City Currys might have to slash its full-year profit guidance of £160million if the conditions continue. 

Russ Mould, director at AJ Bell, said: ‘While Currys is sticking with its full-year guidance for now, there is an obvious risk the second half is sufficiently bad to require that guidance to be trimmed or, in the worst case scenario, slashed.’

Baldock’s comments came as the retailer revealed a 3 per cent slide in sales at its UK and Irish business in the six months to October 30. The supply chain problem caused sales to be affected.

Baldock said: ‘In large-screen TVs, our customers might have to do with a choice of 100 models, rather than the 120 that we would prefer to put in front of them.’

Stock fell 9.3%, or 11.5p to 112.5p. The sector seems to have suffered from a winter chill.

Shares in the UK’s biggest fashion retailer Next dropped 4 per cent, or 318p, yesterday to 7736p. 

Trainer King JD Sports took an additional 3.3 percent hit and fell 7p to 204p. Primark’s owner, Associated British Foods, fell 3.1 percent, or 60p to 1891p.

Richard Hyman, retail analyst at consultancy TPC, said: ‘This is a hammer blow to an industry that was starting to feel a few weeks ago that things were heading toward some semblance of what might be called normality. 

“This is a serious matter and people are making changes in their lives, such as being more responsible, more diligent, and more comfortable working at home.

‘But we are taking a very big step backwards and that is bad news for the retail economy. The emergence of Omicron is a massive issue and one that will change consumer behaviour and spending.’