Discovery Store is to be rebranded as a gifts and gadgets retailer called Must Have IT, which could have 50 stores within two years.
So far, three stores have been converted to the Must Have IT concept. Stores in Milton Keynes and Manchester's Trafford Centre opened last month, and a store in The Mall at Bristol's Cribbs Causeway opened last weekend.
Discovery Store owner John Caudwell, who bought the chain from administration in 2001, said his original intention had been to make the chain again the true place of discovery for the latest gadgets and products.'Different managers failed to hit the vision I had for the stores. This is getting back to where I wanted to be,' he said. David Betts was brought in to head Discovery Store in February.
Phones 4 U owner Caudwell said there was still work to be done on the Must Have IT concept, which is complemented by a Web site, but said he was pleased with the initial results. 'We are in the experimental stage, but the early signs are encouraging,' he said.
Caudwell added that he wanted critical mass for Must Have IT: 'There would have to be at least 50 plus stores in the next couple of years.'
Currently, there are about 40 Discovery Store sites. The new Must Have IT stores will be a mix of new stores and conversions, he said.
- See news feature on the new format in next week's issue.