Retailer News

Carphone Warehouse Trials Concept Stores

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Carphone Warehouse Trials Concept Stores

Carphone Warehouse is testing out a new store format in the UK, with two outlets in Stratford and Swindon featuring a more flexible layout allowing easy fixture and fitting updates when required.

The trial layout accommodates more change, more quickly, be it adding a smartphone range or display upcoming technologies. It also gives more prominence to accessories, a device category the retailer says is going "from strength to strength," and Carphone Warehouse's own MVNO iD Mobile carrier service.

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Apples Closing Galeries Lafayette Shop?

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Apples Closing Galeries Lafayette Shop?

According to French news site Mac4Ever Apple plans to close its Galeries Lafayette pop up store on January 2017, reportedly due to poor sales in the Watch-centric retail site.

Further hinting towards an imminent closure is an apparent transfer of employees from the shop to other Apple retail stores across Paris (such as the the future location in Saint German, set to open by end 2016) taking place during the past few months.

The Galeries Lafayette location was one of the first in a series of pop up locations openend in upscale departments stores following the 2015 Apple Watch launch. Similar stores-in-stores still exist in Selfridges, London and Isetan, Tokyo, all promising to "the best service possible" to "customers looking to make major purchases." How major? The luxury Apple Watch Edition, obviously, the version with price tags starting from $10000.

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Best Buy Sets Space to Startup Projects

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Best Buy Sets Space to Startup Projects

In what is perhaps a sign of the times Best Buy launches Ignite-- an initiative dedicated to promoting products from startups and smaller companies, including crowdfunded devices.

Through Ignite Best Buy will hook up select startups with multinational product innovation company PCH, providing help with product development, marketing, packaging and inventory management. Once the products are finished they will appear on a section of the best Buy website dedicated to startups, a move similar to Amazon's Launchpad initiative.

In addition, the Best Buy store in Silicon Valley has an Ignite space housing a selection of crowdfunded gadgets-- including the Tangram Smart Rope, Flic smart button, RoBo 3D printer, Zuli smart plug and the Noke Bluetooth padlock. Also making an appearance is the Under Armour UA Healthbox fitness wearable, the Muzik connected headphones and the Bragi wireless earpods.

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Changes Ahead for Apple Retail Staff?

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Changes Ahead for Apple Retail Staff?

Apple retail staff in the US and UK (and possibly elsewhere) have recently received a number of "significant" changes, MacRumors reports-- including 3 new job titles, renamed existing positions and an updated employee credo.

Two of the new job positions are pro-level, being the Pro (a sales position above Expert reserved for the most knowledgable employees) and Creative Pro (a learning position above Creative). The remaining position is Technical Expert, a customer position between Technical Specialist and Genius for employees able to provide mobile repairs and troubleshooting for software and products such as the Apple Watch and Apple TV.

Meanwhile some retail positions are getting a change of name-- the Red Zone Specialist is now just a Specialist, the Family Room Specialist becomes a Technical Specialist, the Back-of-House Specialist is an Operations Specialist and the Inventory Specialist is an Operations Pro. Areas within retail locations are also getting some name changes, as the Back-of-House is now called Backstage and the Red Zone is now the Product Zone.

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Authorities Approve Fnac Darty Takeover

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Authorities Approve Fnac Darty Takeover

The saga of the Fnac acquisition of Darty comes to a close, as the French competition authority gives the go ahead for the creation of the largest CE retailer in the country.

Combined Fnac-Darty sales total nearly €8 billion, allowing the company to better compete with the online likes of Amazon. However approval from the authorities required the sale of 6 stores-- specifically 4 Darty stores in Paris, 1 in the Parisian suburb of Vélizy-Villacoublay and 1 Fnac store.

"The divestiture of these six stores to one or more retailers of electronic products will guarantee realistic choices to the consumer, capable of maintaining pricing and services conditions competitive at a local level," a statement from the competition watchdog reads.

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Dixons Carphone Shows Growth Amidst Brexit Concerns

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Dixons Carphone Shows Growth Amidst Brexit Concerns

Dixons Carphone reveals post-EU referendum contingency plans as it announces "record" profit growth of 17% for the fiscal year ending April 2016.

Overall sales for the chain covering Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse in the UK, as well as Elkjob and El Giganten in the Nordics and Kotsovolos in Greece, total £9.74 billion, while pre-tax profits reach £447 million, up from £381m a year earlier.

Boosting growth for the retailer in the UK are the Rugby World Cup spurring TV sales and strong demand for fridges and freezers offsetting weak PC sales. Dixons Carphone also found an opportunity in selling technology to other retailers through the Connected World Services division-- a US trial with Sprint revenues reach £152m with 26% growth during the 12-month period.

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Deutsche Bank: Amazon Looks to Beat Best Buy in CE

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Deutsche Bank: Amazon Looks to Beat Best Buy in CE

According to "hardline" Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Baker Amazon is the no. 2 CE retailer in the US, beating Wal-Mart and potentially able to soon able to defeat leader Best Buy.

Helping the online retailer giant make such headway in CE sales is the RadioShack bankruptcy and mostly flat results from the brick and mortar competition, including Best Buy and Apple. In fact, Baker reports Costco is the only top 25 CE retailer other than Amazon seeing some growth in 2015.

"Not surprisingly, the only retail channel to show year-on-year growth was the consumer direct channel," Baker adds. "While Best Buy remains the number-one overall industry player, it appears that most of their sales pickup was from RadioShack, while it appears that Amazon has continued to chip away, and now at an accelerating pace, from the smaller players."

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Darty Board Recommends Fnac Offer

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Darty Board Recommends Fnac Offer

The war for Darty appears to be winding down to an inevitable conclusion, as the board unanimously recommends shareholders go for the "fair and reasonable" Fnac takeover offer.

“In evaluating the Fnac offer, the board of Darty has considered various aspects, including execution risk, and considers the final offer to represent a superior offer for Darty shareholders, as compared to other offers,” a statement from the retailer reads. Further cementing the board's decision is advice from Morgan Stanley, Lazard and UBS suggesting the final Fnac offer is “in the best interests of Darty shareholders as a whole.”

The acquisition of Darty has been dragging on for a while-- specifically since November 2015, when Fnac announced plans to buy the French retailer for £558 million. However such plans were set back in March 2016 with the appearance of Conforama, the French furniture chain owned by S. African conglomerate Steinhoff. The result was 2 months of intense bid-based sparring (one week saw 6 bids entered in a single day!), until Steinhoff threw the towel early in May 2016 with a final offer of 160p per share.

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San Francisco Gets Flagship Apple Store

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San Francisco Gets Flagship Apple Store

Retail senior VP Angela Ahrendts presents a new flagship Apple Store in Union Square, San Francisco-- one replete with new features, such as impressive 13 x 12m sliding glass doors and an open "Forum" area.

“Fifteen years ago today Apple opened its first two stores and we’re thrilled to mark the occasion with the opening of Apple Union Square in San Francisco,” Ahrendts says. “We are not just evolving our store design, but its purpose and greater role in the community as we educate and entertain visitors and serve our network of local entrepreneurs."

Co-designed by Ahrends and design boss Jony Ive, the store is 100% renewable energy powered and connects San Francisco's Union Square to an "art-filled plaza" complete with seating, public wifi, a giant 6K video wall highlighting store events and products, and occasional music concerts.

The Plaza will find use for community events, and features sculptures by Ruth Asaw and Laura Kimpton.

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RadioShack Names Dene Rogers CEO

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RadioShack Names Dene Rogers CEO

RadioShack finds a 10th CEO in as many years in retail veteran Dene Rogers, former managing director of Target Australia and president/CEO of Sears Canada, with tenure starting from 9 May 2016.

As the anachronistically named retailer puts it, "Dene Rogers has a long and consistent record of business success... Dene shares our commitment to RadioShack's legacy as the nation's leading neighborhood electronics convenience store and has an impressive vision for how to expand the business into other segments of the market across a variety of platforms."

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Fnac Wins Battle for Darty?

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Fnac Wins Battle for Darty?

After a week of intense bidding-- one that saw 6 bids entered in a single day-- Fnac appears to win the battle for Darty, since the Steinhoff-owned Conforama throws the towel with a final offer for the retailer.

“Our final offer of 160p [per share] for each Darty share reflects the evaluation criteria we use for all acquisitions, including return on investment and value creation,” Conforama says. "We remain of the opinion that, at this price, the Darty business would have been a good addition to the Steinhoff group of businesses but, at an increased price, it would no longer create sufficient value for Steinhoff shareholders, employees and other stakeholders.”

The "final" Fnac bid offers 170p a share, bringing the price for Darty to around £900 million. While the bidding was going on Fnac was also busy snapping up Darty shares, and as such it already owns over 10% of the company.

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