Electricals giant Dixons’ Currys and PC World stores have benefited from a surge in footfall following the collapse of Comet into administration.
Last weekend the number of visitors to Dixons’ shops rocketed by 60,000, Retail Week has learned.
The uplift, which continued into this week, was partly a result of disappointed shoppers, who had expected a fire-Sale at Comet, visiting Currys and PC World stores instead and comparing product and prices.
Headlines about Comet’s demise also stoked interest in electricals and technology goods generally.
Dixons, led by Seb James, who played a pivotal role in reinventing the business, is expected to emerge as the last man standing in specialist electricals retail following the shipwreck of Comet, which has 7% of the electricals market, according to Verdict.
Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Conlumino, said: “The main beneficiary is going to be Dixons. It is in the same out-of-town, big-box market and they are the main destination if Comet does not exist.
Verdict lead analyst Patrick O’Brien said: “The clear beneficiary is going to be Dixons. It has already invested in stores near Comet.”
Dixons also hopes to pick up talent from Comet and has delayed Christmas recruitment so that Comet staff can apply.
“We are hoping we will get as many as possible of the Comet colleagues to join us,” James said.
It is understood that only a handful of Comet shops are likely to shut over the next week, but the promotion and an eventual closing down Sale would likely create short-term turbulence in the sector.
It is understood that Dixons would be unlikely to replicate the price cuts expected in the event of a full Comet closure, but bosses are confident its specialist credentials and increased focus on service will enable it to ride out the storm and enhance long-term appeal.
Comet plunged into administration last Friday after withdrawal of credit insurance meant it was unable to purchase stock ahead of the key Christmas season.
The circumstances of its demise have generated controversy as the motivations of its owner OpCapita were questioned.
OpCapita, founded by former banker Henry Jackson and which owned furniture retailer MFI before its collapse, bought Comet for £2 from Kesa earlier this year. OpCapita’s secured creditor status means it may profit from Comet’s demise.
No comment was available from Jackson.