Stat is back. After stepping back from the UK business to take on a more group role as Carphone Warehouse strove to make its partnership with Best Buy work, the past 12 months have seen Andrew Harrison returning to the home markets with gusto. Harrison led a management shake-up last summer, which saw the sudden departure of its UK managing director Matt Stringer.
In truth, he never really went away. One industry source said of Harrison’s involvement: ‘Whenever a serious deal goes on in the company, it was with Stat, rather than Matt [Stringer]. He is still the main man.’ The business had been seen as being distracted by the Best Buy tie-up but now the UK is Harrison’s sole focus. And unsurprisingly, he is up for the fight.
Carphone Warehouse exited the ill-fated joint venture with Best Buy earlier this year, in a much better financial position that it had been before the deal. Harrison said it is part of the business’s core to try new things and experiment but he is now moving Carphone Warehouse towards what worked so well for the retailer for many years.
It continues to have the backing of all four operators in the market and Carphone Warehouse is still seen by manufacturers as a business worth signing deals with. Since Harrison became more hands-on with the retailer, Carphone has seemed like the hungrier, aggressive retailer of old. It’s good to have it back.