Dixons are facing a grim new year as it was revealed that the Christmas season actually accelerated their decline in sales. Takings across Dixons stores and the Currys and PC World outlets run by the company fell by 5 per cent compared to the quarter before, reveal figures published today. That fall follows a drop of 3 per cent …
Is anyone supposed to be surpirsed by this?
With the prices and layout and numpties manning everything, what'd you expect?
WIth BestBuy having pulled out already and Comet in trouble, they had the market to themselves. And they screw it up spectacularly, especially with the Christmas rush.
No wonder the top honchos arent able to pull their collective arses from wher the sun doesnt shine.
Well, it's probably not helped by the way they pulled the store mergers in places; I know up in Crossley Park in Kidderminster, there used to be separate PC World and Currys stores, they merged them into a single store unit and I suspect that actually put a lot of people off - people who'd go into one but not the other for whatever reason, now just avoid it entirely.
And the fact that they still pay peanuts, getting monkeys in as their staff.
I must relate though... not long after the aforementioned store reopened, I happened to pop in there to see an old couple looking at a 20-something" iMac. And there was a Mac guy there (looked like official Apple staff) explaining to this couple how to use a Mac, since judging by their attitude and comments, I suspect this was their first computer.*
That part in itself wasn't particularly surprising. What was surprising, however, was the PC World staffer standing by, looking attentive, and more than once mumbled... "I didn't know they could do that." The first time he said it, what was the Apple guy doing? He was loading Safari. Yes, the PC World staffer apparently didn't know iMacs had internet. I actually saw something I'd never seen before: a PC World staffer looking more gormless than usual, I didn't think it was possible.
And they wonder why no-one wants to buy anything from them.
* Now, please, don't give me that age old ********s about how Macs are so easy to use, don't need a manual, blah blah blah. If it was, as I suspect, this old couple's first computer, it's going to be a leap for them no matter what OS it has on it. But when you have someone who is more than happy to explain it to you and prepared to be patient in so doing, you probably won't be surprised to learn that Apple made a sale that day.
The whole organisation needs a rethink. It feels disjointed, the website is poor, they need to refine the after sales support products, they need to rethink their pricing and they need to ensure their staff/departments are by far and away the best informed regarding the technologies they sell, regardless if its a top end core i7 gaming unit or a kettle. They need to make it clear the cost of after sales support and exactly what it provides you. They have the opportunity to kick online where it hurts - delivery times. They could have a fleet of delivery vehicles working from each store to deliver the goods within hours to the shopper, out pacing royal mail deliveries from Amazon. Monday to Sunday, this would give them the last remaining competitive edge. However, even this will only succeed if the attitude and knowledge is changed for the better. As it stands, in a more and more technical era, their staff are starting to look dumber and dumber. Its probably easier to employ geeks at better money and teach them manners and sales, than to teach an under-paid sales guy in-depth product knowledge.
> they need to ensure their staff/departments are by far and away the
> best informed regarding the technologies they sell
I'd go for a slightly different tack.
They need to ensure that their staff know when they don't know something.
A sales assistant that says "Sorry, I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does" is only fractionally annoying. A sales assistant who bullshits me will raise my ire...
Dixons . .
should offer you, sir, the boss job - you are their only hope.
(My gloucester old spot is fuelled and ready for take off).
way back in the day, when I worked in retail
I worked in Richer Sounds. It was drilled hard into us to never, ever bullshit a customer about anything ever. Either they spot you at the time, then you don't get a sale; or they find out later on and are annoyed - either way that customer isn't coming back and will probably tell their friends not to either.
We were told that if you don't know something, politely say so, then find the hell out and get back to them sharpish. Offer the customer a cup of tea while they wait.
It's not rocket science. But it is probably why Richers are still making money and Dixons aren't.
> They could have a fleet of delivery vehicles working from each store to deliver the goods within hours to the shopper,
So your solution to Dixons problems is that they substantially add to their overheads, which will increase their prices and decrease their competitiveness. There are many stores on the internet I can go to now, order a 50in plasma, and have it delivered in the morning. Being able to get it this evening, at a higher cost, isn't going to convince me to buy it from Dixons.
I might consider it for things like printer cartridges, because that is something you tend to need immediately, but they would have to sell an awful lot of printer cartridges to make up the extra cost.
Dixons have a fleet of 400 vehicles. A good fleet management system would fine the best use for that resource. You are already paying a higher cost for your next morning delivery of your 50" TV. Plus, for many people the 50" tv they just bought in Currys might not fit in their car. However, they have had the advantage of going into the shop, seeing the telly in operation, chatting to a telly guru all about it, possibly buying the anything happens insurance cover and getting home safe in the knowledge that their telly is only an hour or 2 behind them. Hell i'd run the trucks till 8pm, making 7pm the cut off time for home delivery...
For ink cartridges: go into the shop ya lazy SOB_AC...
That would be key. Stopping the sales staff bullshitting. The internal computer system should list the features of the product for the staff to bring up on their personal tablet. The understanding of the feature (types of 3d etc) should be gained from staff training sessions. Everything in the inventory should have a comprehensive rap sheet available for the staff to use immediately during a sale.
The canteen could double up as a classroom....
Strict performance related bonuses might help staff try to understand the products too.
> Dixons have a fleet of 400 vehicles.
These vehicles wouldn't happen to be the delivery vehicles they use to transport goods from their warehouses to their shops would it? If they are using these for instant delivery from the shop, how are they going to get items from the warehouse into the shop?
> You are already paying a higher cost for your next morning delivery of your 50" TV. Plus,
Dixons higher cost would be more since they are not a delivery company. The UPS/DHL/PO van that delivers my TV will have a whole load of other items being delivered on its route which reduces their costs. The delivery company also uses centralised distribution hubs which they have found to be far cheaper and more robust. Dixons on the other would just be delivering my TV and would be operating their delivery system from multiple locations (each shop) which is massively inefficient. What happens, for example, if a driver is taken ill? The shop, if it is a really large and busy one, will have at most one or two other drivers who can take up the slack, but most of them will have to grab drivers from other shops.
> possibly buying the anything happens insurance cover
There is a statutory one year warranty on goods anyway. Paying an extra 15-20% on electrical goods for an "anything happens" insurance is a waste of money. Your home contents insurance will actually cover a lot of what the "anything happens" does. But if you really must have it then you can buy it over the internet.
You mean, never, ever Bullshit like this (overheard in PC World, Chichester several years ago)...
"Yes, it has a dual core processor, which means the Internet is twice as fast..."
Unlike Comet, who had, on the product description card next to the computer
Dual Core Processor - enables you to run two programs at the same time
> Dual Core Processor - enables you to run two programs at the same time
Unfortunately, that is one of those statements that is both technically accurate and entirely misleading...
It MIGHT be possible to set up a delivery system in SOME areas, but not the entire country. For example, if there are a number of stores within a 20-30 mile radius of a warehouse, it could be possible to have trucks running from the warehouse delivering to addresses within say a 40 mile radius, with a time factor of 3-4 hours, not just one or two hours. Here in California, we have mattress companies with multiple stores which promise same day delivery if you purchase by 4:00... Of course, the delivery area would have to be limited, and the delivery could be as late as 8:00 that night... Set the program up to deliver to specific ZIP Codes (US) or Post Codes (UK), and charge a bit extra for the service, or have next day (morning) delivery for a lesser fee or no fee, if they're willing to wait a bit.
Paris, cuz I'd like to try out a new bed.
"Market is fragile" OR
...your shops are rubbish, your staff are poorly trained in customer service and the product and your stuff is over priced?
Nah blame the market!
Even HMV realised (eventually...) that they were flogging a dead horse!
That cannot be right, I've seen the ad, Darth vader is training them...
Stop! Hammer time!
I have this beautiful mental image of Santa's elves in a foaming-mouthed frenzy all around Dixons' coffin, hammering nails into the lid like there's no tomorrow.
I'll vote for whichever London 2012 mayoral candidate promises to donate all the redundant Currys.digital sales staff to Huntingdon Life Sciences as test subjects. And don't get upset, saying that's cruel. People who work in Currys.digital don't feel pain like us. Even PETA agree with that.
Our local PC world has now become a PC World/Currys/Phones4u.
They now have vast amounts of white goods, still loads of TVs, quite an impressive range of printers and digital cameras. Unfortunately they dont actually have a whole lot of anything else these days.
They especially dont have photo paper anymore. Lots of cameras, lots of photo printers, no paper. ffs.
Do you think it's time
For a new tech chain in the UK?
One that has reasonable prices, modern stuff (perhaps minimal stock), a few very knowledgeable (and recognised as such) staff in the store.
Currys/PCWorld get that wrong on every count. The hardware is often last-gen, overpriced and sold by by people who know nothing about it. There has to be a gap in the market for someone to do it well, perhaps in smaller premises or something.
I send my family and non-tech friends to John Lewis, if they want retail and need advice. Prices are perhaps a little higher than Amazon, but you get decent advice and good after-sales. I've bought a few things from JL myself and never once felt like they tried to upsell me on a product.
My No 1 piece of advice to friends and family is to never, EVER buy from PC World/Dixons/Currys.
I'll second JL
Well, I don't /always/ use them but there after sales (and their pre-sales) and willingness to actually help you get what you want is second-to-none-that-I've-used.
Ultimately I think most retail outlets similar to DIxons will end up closing.
Ten years ago if I wanted some hardware (TV, printer, camera, laptop etc) I would go to a high street store to buy it. Today I buy it from the internet. I might pop into Dixon's to have a look at what I'm going to buy but I wont buy it from them because it is cheaper on the internet.
All high street stores have the same problems. High cost of premises, high cost of council rates, high running costs (heating, lighting, maintenance, insurance) and high cost of shop floor staff (even though their wages are low). All of these costs have to be passed on to the customer.
On the other hand somebody selling on the internet just needs a warehouse to dispatch the goods from.
this is very annoying
If PC Dixocurryworld closes, where will I go to eyeball my potential new tech purchases before I order them off Amazon?
I went in to PC World to look at the TVs before Christmas and was approached by one of their sales numpties. While looking at a ProLine TV (cheap as cheap can get) and asking about its various features, he responded with 'yes' and 'because my LG does it so this one will'.
With product knowledge like that, is it any wonder that potential customers would rather go it alone online than trust these idiots to advise them on which product is for them.
PC World - terrible name because no one with the slightest bit of computer knowledge would ever buy one from there!
erm... the Proline brand belongs to Comet so either someone was in the wrong shop or else is jumping on a bandwagon... just saying!
Selling old tat
Their main issue is they sell old technology. Ever tried to buy a recent gaming video card from PC World? Or the newest WDTV Live? They are still stocking stuff from over a year ago! It's only useful for the odd half price HDD, printer on sale or something you need really quickly. Also when they sell cables for extortionate prices you have to wonder.
The trouble is there is no other store that sells such a range of technological goods in the high street other than Comet (and Apple...sorta).
Do they still sell USB cable at £24.99 ? Which is available in Poundland at 1 pound.
No wonder. They were the ones who insisted on suppliers to NOT INCLUDE printer cables in the boxes,so that they can be sold spearately at extortionate prices!
Greedy Batsards , all.
Errr ... yes
'Ever tried to buy a recent gaming video card from PC World? Or the newest WDTV Live?'
Yes. I bought the latest WDTV Live Hub from PCWorld a few weeks ago because they were the only store selling it. What this proves I know not but in the interests of accuracy I felt compelled to comment. You're right about GPUs though.
Despite the shite performance of Dixons ect ect ect I do not think they insisted suppliers not include a printer cable. Any evidence perchance?
Not all bad
Sometimes you'll find equipment knocked down in price that's a decent buy but you need to know exactly what you're buying without relying on the sales staff to advise you. They're very much servicing a consumer market dominated by laptops and netbooks these days though so the stores definitely aren't the best place to buy high end graphics cards or gaming machines etc because most of them just don't stock them to any degree.
In saying that, not long ago I bought a new freezer from Curry's and the service was actually surprising excellent. They gave me free delivery even though I was marginally below the spending level that entitled me to it and they also agreed to take away two old freezers at no extra charge when comet wanted almost 30 quid for delivery and refused to take away more than one old one even if I paid them.
I'll probably get flamed for this but I'll say it anyway...
...I was part of a Dixons H.O. team back in the early 80s when they commissioned a survey to find out who sold the most gear. Of course, everyone know the answer, but it turned out that it was the exact opposite of what was expected. Our consistently top selling sales people were: not that knowledgeable about product, had families, or lived with their mums, didn't have much in the way of hobbies and didn't have that much interest in the stuff we sold. But they liked selling.
We (I) redesigned the application form to sift out these people and as a result Dixons sales boomed from 1981 - 1987 (When I left) and beyond.
There you go. I'll get me coat...
Wait for the closing down sale.....
Should be some bargains to be had! :-)
that recent price war
The recent price war with BestBuy cant have done Dixons/PCWorld/Currys profit margins any good.
...reminds me, must check if Bestbuys closing down sale has started actually reducing anything ;)
The Bestbuy website says they have ceased trading. I don't have a local store so cannot verify if they have shut up shop though.
Its all irrelevant
To all the people saying DSG should improve staff training, fix customers service, have better prices etc. etc. etc. All a waste of time. DSG are now competing against online only sites that are happy to exist on a profit to turnover ratio of 0.3%. No physical specialist electrical retailer can compete with that; with staff costs and rents its literally impossible (in the UK anyway). Electrical goods have poor margins and huge stock obsolescence issues, and although DSG has long been regarded as one of the better buying operations in the sector (by that I mean good at getting the best possible margin and returns), they just can't carry the physical overheads anymore. Same for Comet, same for BestBuy. Smaller operations like RicherSounds can get by because they are more narrowly focused and tend to work on spot buys for stock, and generally don't have stores in "prime" rental locations, but even they will be seeing their bottom line eroded year in year out.
DSG's store future is far, far fewer outlets, probably not even with direct sales as their primary objective, just demo showrooms where the orders are sent by home delivery. In other countries the big box retailer will last a bit longer (store rents cost per square foot in the US is a fraction of the UK, and countries like France have protectionist laws to protect retail), but the UK - which has some of the highest rents and labour costs in the world - is going to be the graveyard of the specialist electrical store.
55% drop in share value
The share holders that didn't buy the extended warranty with their shares are going to be kicking themselves.
Dixons are a dinosaur and we know what happened to them.
"We (I) redesigned the application form to sift out these people and as a result Dixons sales boomed from 1981 - 1987 (When I left) and beyond."
That's it - their decline is just down to you leaving - so give you your job back and they will boom once more. Or not.
Guess it's nothing to do with competition from Amazon / other online retailers then.
You go in Dixons and most likely the salesperson knows very little about the product so you may as well buy it online - save some cash and read online reviews and reviews of the customers to make up your own mind.
Just popped into the catalogue clearance warehouse in Corby that is used by Agros to dump stuff they can't clear. It was rammed full of flat screen TVs, TV set top boxes, hard disc recorders, pallets and pallets of the stuff. I know they buy this stuff by the shipload and have probably made their money, but it wouldn't help them if it got out that there are places like this where you can buy a big flatscreen TV (probably stock from 2 Christmasses ago) at about £300.
I mean if people found out that you can buy goods this cheaply from a warehouse they wouldn't need to go into Currys or Comet. It's pot luck, sometimes there's loads, other times nothing, but you can always pick up a handfull of alkaline batteries at 19p each. I use loads in my guitars and effects pedal and resent paying £3 a go, so one less reason to shop in the High Street or retail park. Ten years ago I made the prediction to friends that one day there will only be jobs in call centres, warehouses and for white van men. It's coming true.
Other comments on here point at old stock being a problem. It is. Old stock did for Woolworths and it will be the death of HMV and Waterstones, Argos and the big sheds.
I spent 20 years in retail. The secret of good retailing is not good selling, it's good buying. Buying twice as much as you need in order to get a good price may work for fast moving, high repeat sale products, but most people don't go shopping for a big ticket item like a laptop or computeror flatscreen TV every year. Piling it high and selling it cheap has diminishing returns and the outcome is always the same. You drown in unsold stock.