7/23/2009 11:40:00 AM
DSG revamps Currys Digital in bid to take on Carphone's Wireless World stores
Currys Digital owner DSG is intensifying rivalry against Carphone Warehouse.
It plans to transform stores and include a wider, long-term product range to compete more directly with Carphone’s ‘Wireless World’ format.
DSG will refurbish around 350 of its 700 stores by 2010 in its first phase. In 2009 it will refurbish 120, including 15 of its high street brand, Currys Digital, under a ‘Get Connected’ theme.
The retailer will also ditch categories such as fridges in favour of laptops with mobile broadband in its high street shops.
Around 40 of Currys Digital’s 100 sites will be refurbished by 2010.
A DSG spokesman said: ‘We are now accelerating our transformation.’
It aims to offer mobile operators a more powerful route to selling mobile broadband and build up smartphones sales, sources said.
The ‘renewal and transformation plan’ focuses on a combination of ‘value, choice and service’ – a big shift from when the emphasis was on price and promotions.
Kitchen appliances will be removed from high street stores and replaced by a greater range of connected laptops, imaging, portable audio, gaming and other digital products, as well as a greater depth of accessories.
The spokesman added: ‘We see Currys Digital as becoming the high street destination for the latest portable technology.’
There will also be tall ‘play tables’, where products such as digital cameras are plugged in and ready to be tested interactively by customers.
The revamped shops will have a ‘connectivity theme’, with customer services available through ‘TechGuys’ – akin to Carphone’s Geek Squad – which was launched and branded two years ago in PC World but is now being trialled in Currys.
DSG has had a turbulent time recently. It has appeared among the most vulnerable high street retailers since Christmas, amid pressure caused by difficulties in securing credit as well as consumer spending being affected by the recession.
Investors have also been concerned by Carphone owner Best Buy’s ambitions to challenge DSG’s PC World and Currys larger retail park and high street stores with Carphone’s new Wireless World shops.