Argos is ramping up its drive into mobile with the launch of five trial store-in-stores, selling contract and prepaid phones and accessories.
The move is part of a major £100m turnaround plan launched by parent company Home Retail Group, aimed at boosting flagging sales at Argos’s 739-strong estate by introducing new and wider product lines to attract more affluent customers and a greater focus on digital channels.
It is also part of a fight back against falling pre-pay sales and increasing competition from rivals including Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Phones 4u.
The Argos Mobile stores are being tested in five of its large ‘Extra’ stores at Wood Green, greater London, Foss Park in Leicester, Head Row in Leeds, Angel Street in Sheffield and the Cockhedge store in Warrington. Sources said an Argos Mobile website to support the concessions is also in the pipeline.
The mobile stores are being managed, staffed and fulfilled by distributor and online retailer A1 Comms, Mobile understands. The stores offer 3G mobile contracts on Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 and Three, as well as pre-pay handsets and Sim-only deals. Handsets range from high-end smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the Nokia Lumia and Sony Xperia ranges, to feature phones.
Handsets and contract deals are being fulfilled by A1 Comms with accessories supplied by Argos. The retailer is also planning to include a Samsung bay within each concession.
One source said: ‘The stores are achieving what they set out to achieve, sales are strong and Argos are exploring some exciting stuff that is yet to come.’
Another said: ‘The stores were launched in April and sales are picking up well. Argos wants to give customers the full immersive experience.’
The in-store trial was given the green light after the successful trial of mobile contract deals on Argos’ retail website. The retailer is also tipped to launch an MVNO later this year which could bring it head to head with the likes of Tesco, Asda and Phones 4u.
An Argos spokeswoman said: ‘Whilst the trial is in the early stages we are using the learnings so far to inform how we develop this proposition going forward.’
A1 Comms was unavailable for comment.
Author: Carol Millett