* Group reports 2020-21 profit of 156 mln pounds
* Current trading seen strong
* Group benefits as people buy more tech equipment
* Dividend payments restarted (Adds detail, CEO comments, shares)
LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Dixons Carphone reported a 34% rise in annual profit and strong current trading and said it would resume paying dividends after stellar online sales helped the British electricals retailer offset store closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also said on Wednesday it had decided to retain full ownership of its Nordics business and would not pursue a partial initial public offering (IPO).
The group, which trades as Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse in Britain, has benefited from people working from home and buying equipment online.
Its shares were up 2% at 0911 GMT, extending year-on-year gains to 40%.
“We are seeing tech being much more important, three quarters of our customers say they’re leaning more on technology than they ever have before,” Chief Executive Alex Baldock said.#
“You’ve got trends like hybrid working and home entertainment, with gaming now a bigger market than both music and movies combined,” he told reporters.
Dixons Carphone reported an adjusted pretax profit of 156 million pounds ($216 million) for the year to May 1, topping guidance of 151 million pounds and the 116 million it earned in 2019-20. It came after it repaid government staff furlough support of 73 million pounds but not business rates relief.
The group proposed a full-year dividend of 3.0 pence.
Revenue rose 2% to 10.3 billion pounds, with like-for-like sales of electricals up 14% despite stores in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Greece being shut for substantial periods.
Electricals online sales more than doubled to 4.7 billion pounds, more than offsetting a 55% fall in sales in the loss-making Britain and Ireland mobile division, which has closed standalone Carphone Warehouse stores.
The group, which plans to change its name to Currys in September, has seen continued strong trading in the 2021-22 financial year.
In the Britain and Ireland electricals division sales were up on last year, with about half of sales through stores. In the international division, sales were trending positively against strong growth in the previous year.
“We continue to see evidence that our markets will be structurally larger post-pandemic, the company said.
$1 = 0.7223 pounds Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Edmund Blair