Dixons Carphone has seen shares surge ahead after revealing online trading has recovered around two-thirds of stores sales lost amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The group said UK and Ireland online sales soared 166% in the five weeks to April 25 as customers rushed to buy laptops and home-working equipment, as well as gaming and televisions for the lockdown.

Overall UK and Ireland electricals sales tumbled 16% as it was forced to shut stores.

Shares were up 18% as it revealed that the online operation is helping recoup lost store sales, despite scrapping its full-year shareholder dividend payout due to the crisis.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Conservatives’ attitude to the EU is ever more aggravating

Dixons revealed its stores that have been closed across the UK, Ireland and Greece would normally have delivered around £400 million of sales in the year, but this has been partially offset as its online operation has "maintained our unambiguous price promise, continued investment in delivery and carried on growing our range for customers".

The group - which has 950 stores across eight countries including Scandinavia and Greece - said its stores have remained open in the Nordics with social distancing measures, which will provide a "blueprint" for how it could work elsewhere when lockdowns are lifted.

Alex Baldock, group chief executive at Dixons Carphone, said: "We're setting new social distancing and hygiene standards that allow us to provide vital help to customers through the lockdown, to keep them connected with loved ones, their families fed, clean and entertained, work from home and home-school the kids."

"This vital role is reflected in customer demand: wherever we've been open, our sales performance has been strong," he added.

In the 52-weeks of the financial year so far, UK and Ireland electricals sales lifted 1% and were 2% higher across the entire group.

Dixons said it had furloughed more than 16,500 store, supply chain and support staff under Government-backed schemes.

The group - which employs 24,000 people in the UK and Ireland - recently shut all 531 of its Carphone Warehouse standalone stores with the loss of 2,900 jobs.

It said at the time that the move was not due to the coronavirus crisis and was aimed at helping to turn around its loss-making UK mobile business.

The Royal Bank of Scotland has lent around £1.4 billion to small business across the country, it said today.

The bank, which also owns NatWest, said it had approved 7,400 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme loans, which are backed by a Government guarantee up until last Thursday.

READ MORE: North Sea oil firm to cut more than 500 jobs

It has also got mandates worth £3.1 billion for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility - a Bank of England-backed scheme to support larger companies through the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier on Wednesday, Barclays revealed that it had lent around £738 million to small businesses as part of CBILS.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has called for financial assistance for the sector to be removed in stages as the country emerges from lockdown.

In a submission to the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee's inquiry on Covid-19, the SRC expressed concern about financial support being removed when lockdown measures are rescinded.

READ MORE: Scottish engineering giant to cut 800 from payroll as oil downturn hits US business

The Scottish Government has provided 100% rates relief for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses during the pandemic, as well as access to £25,000 grants for small businesses in the sectors, mirroring a package of support seen in England and Wales.

The SRC has now called for a phased removal of the support, as well as asking government to be open to further extensions of schemes in a bid to preserve jobs.

The submission from the SRC said: "Allow for 'tapering' of financial support measures so that costs can continue to be partially covered while businesses ramp up to full capacity.

"For example, while the decision to extend the UK Government's Covid Job Retention Scheme to the end of June was very welcome, given that the speed and extent of the recovery in consumer demand will be uncertain for some time to come, government should remain open to further extension to ensure redundancies do not result.

"It will be some time before businesses are able to trade anywhere near normally - supply chains will take time to gear up, and consumer demand is likely to return slowly and unpredictably, according to evidence from businesses with operations in markets that are ahead of the UK in terms of easing restrictions."

The SRC's submission also estimates UK retail businesses have spent £100 million on measures to ensure social distancing in shops.

It said: "Social distancing costs include flexi-plastic at tills, additional signage, additional cleaning, face masks and personal protection equipment for colleagues, and extra security including marshalling queues.

"Based on a selection of member feedback from those continuing to trade, a very rough estimate would be UK expenditure is around £100 million so far."

The statement comes on the same day as the Scottish Government released figures showing a drop of 1.1% in retail sales between January and March, before lockdown measures were put in place.