Phones 4u is ramping up the rollout of its mini stores in Currys and PC World outlets after like-for-like sales surged by 50% this year.
The retailer has opened 45 ‘store-in-stores’ so far this year and will roll out another 20 by December, bringing the total number to 158, with more planned in 2013. Phones 4u opened its first trial concession store at Currys’ Wednesbury megastore in August 2009, signing a partnership deal with parent group DSGi for 50 stores a year later.
Scott Hooton, chief commercial officer at Phones 4u, told Mobile: ‘The stores have been very successful so far and we are keen to open more. Trading performance has been very strong and sales have increased dramatically year on year – up by 50% on last year.’Hooton said the stores give Phones 4u access to the growing connected devices market. He said: ‘We and DSGi see the store-in-stores as a fantastic opportunity, particularly with the arrival of 4G and connected devices such as Wi-Fi-connected TV. Where else can you get access to 500 sqft of hardware including mobiles?’
He added: ‘If you look at the rise in connected-home devices, it makes sense for customers to go there for a demonstration, where they can browse and link transactions such as their smartphones with their TV. That is relatively infantile compared with what consumers will be able to do in the future.’
Hooton said the store-in-stores are also broadening Phones 4u’s customer demographic. He said: ‘Working with DSGi gives us that Big Box experience. We get noticeably different customers there to our high street stores.’Phones 4u plans to roll out around 50 high street stores next year. The retailer opened 42 high street stores in 2011 and another 45 high street stores so far this year, bringing the total to 518.
Hooton added: ‘We can’t be precise on the number of stores planned as it is often down to waiting for the right sites to become available in the right place. However, we are not in the numbers game. It’s about quality.’
Phones 4u’s chief commercial officer was speaking as the retailer launched its mobile internet safety campaign, which is aimed at helping parents ensure their children stay safe online when accessing the internet from their mobile phones. An information hub has gone live on its website to inform parents about the safety options available, and trained store staff provide advice. Hooton said: ‘A lot of children access the internet via their phones. That will grow with the advent of 4G services so we wanted to make parents aware of the tools available to help keep their children safe.’
Editor: Carol Millett