Dixons Carphone boss Sebastian James believes the retailer’s commitment to bricks-and-mortar has been “vindicated” as it holds off online rivals.
James was upbeat after the retailer posted sales growth far ahead of analysts’ forecasts for its fourth quarter against a tough electricals market.
Detractors had all but written off electricals retailers with a hefty bricks-and-mortar presence, but Sebastian James today refuted those claims, pointing to the success of Dixons Carphone’s strategy.
James said: “Like a belief in God the alternative is too terrible to contemplate, but the fact is we seem to be being vindicated by the way customers are in fact choosing to shop.
“The rumours of the death of multichannel retail have been exaggerated. We are certainly holding our own against online only retailers. We are definitely taking share overall in the market against those retailers that can’t demonstrate in-store.”
James believes the key to Dixons Carphone’s multichannel success is that it has proved that it could “still supply shops and price like our internet rivals”.
Dixons Carphone posted a 9% like-for-like sales rise for its fourth quarter this morning, while still maintaining “stable” gross margins.
The strong Dixons Carphone performance comes a day after Ao.com boss John Roberts conceded that his bricks-and-mortar rivals had woken up to the threat of the surge in online electricals sales.
James added that the company would be trialling a number of new store formats to work out, which is the most effective.
It is unlikely any reshaping of the store estate will result in job losses of in-store staff.
James said: “We have been on a closing stores journey for a long time but without losing sales and since the number of people we employ in our stores is linked to the sales and not number of locations we have not had a people issue.
“We actually found sales increased when we shut one of two stores on a park and put it into a single store.”