Orange octo-pod aims to thwart in-store thieves

Orange is introducing an alarmed security system to tackle thieves who target display phones in stores.

UK retail managing director Nick Moore wants to show only live handsets in stores so customers can experiment with the latest high-tech features. However, even dummy phones are pinched.

A new display unit, dubbed the Octo-pod, has been tested at the retailer's refurbished Cheapside store in London's financial district.

Phones are held in cradles and secured by retractable metal cables.

'In the concept stores we have had problems with theft,' said Moore. 'However, it is vital that customers are able to play with phones. The Octo-pod enables us to display live phones securely so customers can experience the handset.'

To date the retailer has only displayed live phones in its top 20 shops, such as the Bullring. With the help of the Octo-pod, the experience will be extended across the 250-store chain by Christmas.

The retailer's interactive approach continues to fuel like-for-like-sales growth, up 57 per cent in the half-year to June. Moore intends to continue to develop tailored store types to drive sales.

The revamped Cheapside shop is aimed at wealthy, gadget-loving City boys. 'The store targets high-end customers with a high spend on their phone,' said Moore. 'They like to be seen with the hottest, flashiest phones.'

Key features at Cheapside include a gizmo wall stocked with accessories such as digital pens and picture frames, and lipstick displays to showcase hero handsets.

Orange is accelerating its expansion plans and will add another 20 stores before Christmas.