The Carphone Warehouse is to license out its specialist IP, systems and services to retailers and businesses.
The mobile phone specialist plans to create a new revenue stream by offering its specialist services to a broad range of businesses from retailers and handset manufacturers to utility companies and banks.
Carphone Warehouse group chief executive Andrew Harrison said the retailer would look to offer its “skills, knowhow, processes, capabilities and buying power” to spur Carphone’s long-term growth in an exclusive interview with Retail Week.
Services exported could range from its bespoke IT platforms to its new assisted sales programme, which allows staff using tablets to search for and display the best deals for shoppers. Carphone invested £10m to roll out the initiative in September.
The string of prospective deals could mirror online grocery retailer Ocado’s strategy to attract international deals to license its IP after Morrisons paid £216m to use its systems in the UK.
Harrison said: “The entrepreneurial restlessness that sits within Carphone Warehouse is as alive as ever from thinking that we would diversify ourselves from being a retailer to becoming a telecoms company to diversifying ourselves geographically from Europe in going to America. This is the next step.
“In a country that doesn’t manufacturer much any more so it doesn’t have much to export, we have got brilliant people, brilliant ideas and a great retail sector that I think we can harness new ideas from on a relatively low capital basis to drive growth in UK Plc.”
Harrison said there is “no limits” to its ambitions in terms of which markets it enters but would first look at countries in which it has an existing store presence.
The licensing programme will complement the retailer’s tactic to open concessions in international retailers’ stores. Harrison said that by next September Carphone would have operations in nearly 60 shop-in-shops in the Netherlands via Makro and Media-Saturn, 12 shops in Ireland and will have begun its roll out in Germany.
He added that the conclusion of its European joint venture with Best Buy earlier this year had “galvanised” Carphone Warehouse to pursue a growth plan.
Carphone last month reported that first-half like-for-like sales surged 8.3% in the 26 weeks to September 28.