On and up with Carphone

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The apparently inexorable rise of Carphone Warehouse continues in its Q3 trading update. For the thirteen weeks to 31 December 2005, total revenues were up 22.7% at £820m.

In the quarter CPW opened 126 new stores, taking the total to 1,712; there should be a further 30-40 new stores by the end of March. Those stores connected a third more customers, giving CPW a base of 2.73m connections – more than a third of them on contract.

Other bits of the business are also doing well. In particular, the Fresh MVNO was relaunched successfully and added 205,000 customers to make a total of 429,000. And TalkTalk added a further 88,000 customers in the quarter, taking the total base to 1.15m. Total TalkTalk UK revenues were £51.3m, up 60.3%, and during December CPW also completed the acquisitions of the UK and Irish business of Onetel and Tele2.

The Continent will be another route for growth. Carphone Warehouse has just acquired Planet Phone in Spain, a chain of nine stores acting exclusively as a Telefónica Moviles distributor. Said CPW’s Charles Dunstone: “This significant development represents the first step in building a distribution relationship with Telefónica Moviles”.

The immediate outlook is good; as Dunstone put it, “Market conditions continue to benefit our retail business model”.