Retailer News

Dixons Carphone Looks into Connected Home

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Dixons Carphone Looks into Connected Home

Dixons Carphone CEO Sebastian James reveals the retailer's plans to get involved in the "full lifecycle" of smart home devices-- not only the sale of such devices, but also installation, servicing and monitoring.

“We… are trying to deliver something new. Not equipment but instead your home working," James tells the Wall Street Journal. "Of course, it includes equipment, but it’s installed, it’s monitored, it’s repaired, it’s kept working at all times.”

Retail opportunities highlighted by the interview include security and "smart" devices such as the Nest thermostat. James predicts the average UK home will house up to 70 such devices over the next few years (from the current 12), bringing about "massive implications" for the industry.

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RadioShack: Lessons Learned

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RadioShack: Lessons Learned

by John Lostroscio, principal, Lostroscio & None, LLC.

I served as vice president of merchandising, CE Products, for RadioShack, from September, 2010, to December, 2013. This was the last corporate position I held, and after 35+ years experience in the consumer electronics industry, I decided to hang out my own shingle, forming a consultancy in 2014.

My three years at RadioShack were interesting, to say the least. During my tenure, we had four CEO’s, the last being Joe Magnacca. Joe is a dynamic merchant, who brought an enthusiasm and excitement that was sorely needed. Suffice to say, he inherited a company that was already on life support.

Much has been written about “the aftermath of RadioShack,” including a fair amount of Monday morning quarterbacking. Many of opinions that I’ve read have a level of merit. The fact is RadioShack faced significant challenges; some of their own doing, and others the result of how the industry itself has changed over the past few years.

I will address these challenges and provide insight to impart valuable lessons learned.

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Google Opens First Google-Branded Shop

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Google Opens First Google-Branded Shop

Google opens a first branded store-in-a-store-- called the Google shop-- selling Android smartphones and tablets, Chromebook notebooks and Chromecasts inside the Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road, London.

The outlet allows customers to test out the aforementioned devices, as well as play with a surround screen installation dubbed "Portal," scrawl own versions of the Google logo with virtual spray paint on a Doodle Wall and consume media in a self-explanatory Chromecast Pod. Google also plans to organise classes and events on topics such as device use, online security and basic coding.

"This will be a new and innovative way for customers to engage in store, interacting with the immersive technology as well as having fun while learning," Currys PC World says. "Google experts will be on hand to maximise the experience for users and provide help and support around the Google eco-system. This fantastic space compliments the interactive and informative environment we aim to create for customers visiting all of our stores.”

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For Sale: The RadioShack Name

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For Sale: The RadioShack Name

Stores are not the only thing the bankrupt RadioShack is selling, Bloomberg reports-- the anachronistic 94-year old brand is also hitting the auction block, with bids starting at $20 million.

Standard General, an affiliate lender of General Wireless and buyer of as many as 2000 US RadioShack stores, leads the bidding.

Also on sale are the rest of RadioShack's 4000 stores, some of which will be bought by games retailer GameStop. An unspecified number of stores will be co-branded with mobile carrier Sprint.

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Weaker-Than-Expected Fiscal Q3 for Darty

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Weaker-Than-Expected Fiscal Q3 for Darty

Darty reports Y-o-Y sales declines of -2.9% Y-o-Y for fiscal Q3 (the period from 1 November 2014 31 January 2015), as the period suffers from comparison to a stronger 2014 and a weak tablet and digital camera sales.

Also hitting the retailer's quarter-- and consumer confidence-- are the terrorist attacks on Paris in early January, offsetting strong performance on the Black Friday weekend and web sales growth reaching nearly 10% to make 15% of total product sales.

Darty says multichannel click-and-collect proves popular, with 30% of December online sales being collected in-store.

However total group revenues are up by 2.4%, thanks to "good" growth in the white goods and communications categories. The quarter also saw the retailer adding 11 franchisees in France (bringing the total number of French franchise stores to 34) and completing the acquisition of 17 "profitable" Netherlands outlets from HiM Retail.

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RadioShack Files Bankruptcy, Sells Stores

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RadioShack Files Bankruptcy, Sells Stores

Time has indeed run out for RadioShack-- the venerable retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announces the sale of up to 2400 US stores to Standard General, an affiliate of lender General Wireless.

Following the agreement General Wireless will team up with mobile carrier Sprint to create dedicated "store within a store" outlets in up to 1750 of the acquired RadioShack stores.

"These steps are the culmination of a thorough process intended to drive maximum value for our stakeholders," RadioShack CEO Joe Magnacca says.

The agreement covers RadioShack's 4000 stores in the US, and does not include the dealer franchise stores in other countries, meaning the 94-year old RadioShack name might still live on elsewhere as a franchised brand name.

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The End is Nigh for RadioShack?

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The End is Nigh for RadioShack?

Bloomberg is the latest to report on the woes affecting RadioShack-- apparently the retailer is set to shut down in a bankruptcy deal selling around half its store leases to Sprint and closing the rest.

The anonymous sources add the sold outlets will operate under the Sprint name, meaning the 94-year old RadioShack will cease to exist as a stand-alone retailer. However negotiations are still ongoing, meaning talks can either break down or lead to a co-branding agreement, possibly as part of a store-within-a-store concept involving the wireless carrier.

Another possibility is that of another bidder entering the fray-- such as the Sanpower Group, the Chinese backers who took the Brookstone chain out of bankruptcy back in June 2014.

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Dixons Carphone Teams Up with EE

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Dixons Carphone Teams Up with EE

In an effort to avoid the same fate as Phones4U-- specifically that of closing down due to losing support from the major UK mobile carriers-- Dixons Carphone forms a multi-year alliance with EE.

The retailer already has similar long-term agreements with Vodafone and O2, as confirmed earlier last year.

“This long term partnership with EE takes us in to the next decade with a joint focus on the amazing potential of connected technology, building on EE’s industry-leading 4G network and growing presence in the home," Carphone Warehouse CEO Graham Stapleton says. "Creating deeper relationships with our network partners reinforces the ongoing importance of providing customers with independent advice and deals that are personalised to their needs."

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FTI Consulting: Retailers Need to Evolve

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FTI Consulting: Retailers Need to Evolve

According to FTI Consulting in the future the retail industry will be stuck in "The New Mediocre", a period where one must take action if brick-and-mortar outlets want to remain relevant in an increasingly online world.

The analyst says a number of factors have led to the declines the industry current faces-- an oversupply of stores, maturation (and lack of differentiation) in many stores and brands, a lack of "hot ticket" items, changing demographics, uneven economic recovery, customers wanting to spend money on services and experiences and, ultimately, online retail sales causing a destabilising effect on store economics.

“Retailers today are facing a magnitude of issues and challenges in a landscape where the only constant is the accelerating pace of change,” FTI adds. “Retailers have reached a crossroads, with many of them merely hanging on, it is clear to us that there needs to be an evolution in their business approach to stay afloat.”

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WSJ: RadioShack May Declare Bankruptcy

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WSJ: RadioShack May Declare Bankruptcy

RadioShack may be preparing for bankruptcy protection starting from as early as February 2015, the Wall Street Journal reports, and is already in talks with a private-equity firm in order to sell its assets.

However the WSJ adds the talks are not final, and as such RadioShack might go for other debt-restructuring options, including reaching out to other potential lenders. An earlier WSJ report says Salus Capital Partners, the retailer's asset-based lender, offered a $500 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan replacing its current $585m financing package.

The anachronistically-named retailer suggested it is on the verge of bankruptcy last month, following bigger-than-expected fiscal Q3 losses.

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Darty Cautious Despite Improvement

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Darty Cautious Despite Improvement

No. 3 European CE retailer Darty sees improvement in the 6 months ending 31 October 2014, with revenues growing by 3.5% Y-o-Y as the retailer continues to narrow focus on its core France, Belgium and Netherlands businesses.

In part such improvements come through the sale of majority stake in Datart, the retail business in Czech Republic and Slovakia. It also dropped loss-making operations in Italy, Spain and Turkey. As a result net losses for the 6-month period reach €4.7 million, an improvement from €19.8m last year, while operating profit totals €9.3m (against a €1m loss a year ago).

However sales drop by 1.2% due to "strong comparatives in Q2" and a "challenging" market.

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