Mobile retailer Get Connected is launching a major refurbishment programme to update its 70 stores and is on the lookout for new branches.
The refurbishment programme aims to modernise the interior and refresh exteriors with a newly designed logo and new signage. Speaking to Mobile, Get Connected general manager Ben French said: ‘We are refreshing all our stores with a more eye-catching design which includes a redesigned logo and signage… The refurbishment will give the stores much lighter, brighter interiors with greater focus on different areas within the stores.’
The retailer is based in South Wales, the Border Counties and the West Country. It opened a new branch in Chepstow this month and is looking to add further stores to its portfolio. French said: ‘It is important that we focus on continually improving the performance of our existing stores. However, we have done various acquisitions in the past and we would look at expanding if the right niche store came up. We are always interested in existing stores in the right area.’
Referring to the recent acquisition of Shebang’s Go Mobile franchise estate, French added: ‘We would look to acquire in the same way, if the opportunity came up. In the current economic climate, where others can’t make it work, there are some good businesses going for good money.’
The business has an expansion strategy in place of buying niche mobile stores, as well as setting up new branches. Get Connected opened three new stores in Bangor, Mold and Crediton last year.
However, French said the retailer has no plans to significantly expand its current geographical footprint. He explained: ‘Keeping stores local means they are easier to manage and control. The further the spread, the more people you need to manage the estate.’
The company is also on a recruitment and training drive aimed at raising the calibre and performance of its 150 staff. French said: ‘It is not so much about numbers but about finding the right calibre of people for our stores.
‘Get Connected stores have relatively low staff levels, as local stores, and so we need people who not only have the right management skills but also the right sales skills. It is often difficult to find people with the right balance of both skills. Often they either excel at one or the other. So we are putting a lot of focus on recruiting the right people.’
The retailer recently launched a Get Connected MVNO service that offers pay-as-you-go, Sim and handset deals. It also carries a range of own-branded accessories in all its stores. French said: ‘It is good to have our own-branded MVNO and we are now looking at moving into contract MVNO. We want to have more and more of our own-branded offerings in the future.’
Get Connected is planning to sell T-Mobile connections later this year, in addition to its Orange and Three deals. French said a key focus for the business would be retentions. He said: ‘Keeping our existing customers happy is important. We do a lot of upgrade business in our stores. We promote ourselves as a local business that is part of the community, a friendly place to come to that gives local people a local choice.’