Overhaul of portfolio to continue this year with megastores and ?hybrid? stores as the focus

DSGi powers on with store revamp strategy

DSGi, the UK’s biggest PC and technology retailer, will follow its storming set of Christmas financials with a series of further store revamps through 2010, focusing on megastores and ‘hybrid’ sites.

The PC World and Currys parent claims its eight per cent growth is proof that a campaign of store overhauls is working. A third of DGSi’s outlets have already been transformed with new layouts, structures and branding, while another third will be completed by Christmas.

“We’ve embarked on refitting all our store types,” the company’s hardware director, Jeremy Fennel, told PCR. “The impressive thing is every single format is working. We have confirmed very confidently that we are moving forward with all the formats, to the extent that we had about a third of our store portfolio transformed in time for peak. And we have indicated that, if anything, we will nudge some more focus on the megastores and the two-in-one formats.”

While the firm is confident about its retail operation, it acknowledges that the recession has damaged its B2B division more heavily, following the closure of Equanet’s Surbiton office late last year. But with a new head of the division, DSGi is looking to turn this around.

“The B2B part of the business was more severely impacted by the recession. And that affects both our in-store B2B sales and Equanet sales,” added spokesman Mark Webb. “We have a new managing director of the division, Phil Birbeck. I won’t talk in too much detail about his plans, but it’s clear that the B2B market is important to us and will remain so.”

With the launch of BestBuy.co.uk – the US retail giant’s expeditionary force in Britain, currently featuring mostly product guides and reviews – and the looming presence of its UK megastore rollout in spring, many are expecting a clash between the two retail giants. However, DSGi is stalwart on the face of any potential retail war.

“It’s not here yet. There are competitors out there already,” said Webb. “We’ve got 650 stores with great momentum behind them. We’re focusing on winning and retaining our customer base, and we’re making a really good job of it. The other thing is that we’ve got almost a two-year head start in our transformation programme. We’re quite comfortable with what we’re doing, and we’ll see what comes.”

Click here to read our DSGi interview in full, and here to read Andrew Wooden’s blog on DSGi.

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