11/6/2008 10:09:00 AM
Carphone pilots new 'wireless world' stores at Westfield
Carphone Warehouse is piloting a new store format that extends beyond its mobile heartland, into a broader range of portable devices.
The stores are being termed as ‘wireless world’ within the company and strongly feature gaming devices, such as PlayStations and Nintendo Wiis, as well as gaming on mobile phones. They also include laptops (including Apple models), sat nav products, Slingbox (TV over internet), iPods and Wi-Fi routers.
The first store in the new format is a huge 3,000 sq ft shop in the new Westfield shopping centre in west London, but other stores to be trialled include Bristol, Richmond, Southampton and Leeds (although the latter two were not definite as Mobile went to press).
If successful, the format may be extended to a further 50 Carphone stores. The retailer is expected to secure favourable terms from suppliers for new products through its 50-50 partner, American electronics retail giant Best Buy, allowing Carphone to take on the likes of DSG and John Lewis.
Carphone also believes that the electronics market suffers from poor customer service, and will use its ‘simple, impartial advice’ tag to differentiate it from its competitors.
Analysts that are closely watching Carphone said the retail business was in a strong position for the long term.
The new format stores are understood to still be called Carphone Warehouse, and will be markedly different to the bigger ‘Big Box’ stores, which Carphone has said will measure between 30,000 and 40,000 sq ft, and will be situated in out-of-town retail parks.
The first Big Box store is set to open in June 2009, with the location of the first stores currently being negotiated.
Carphone declined to comment.