PRG sets rebrand in motion following flagging sales
The PowerHouse name is to disappear from the UK high street as the retailer rebrands just days after its parent company PRG issued a profit warning for the chain.

The number-three electricals retailer has changed its trading name from PowerHouse to Go Switch On.

New Zealand-based parent company PRG said last week of PowerHouse: 'Current sales growth is less than budgeted, which, if sustained, is likely to result in a moderate loss for the financial year to March 31, 2007.'

PRG had expected PowerHouse to break even in the current financial year.

Four stores have been re-branded Go Switch On in a six-week trial before roll-out.

The retailer plans to convert the entire 53-store chain by November and has bagged high-end brands such as Apple, Siemens and Smeg on the back of the revamp.

Go Switch On chief executive Chris Onslow said: 'I don't think Apple would be terribly proud of PowerHouse retailing its product. The perception was they were old-fashioned stores.'

The transformed stores will be departmentalised by brand rather than product type and price.

Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark said that this could be the last chance for the retailer to develop a sustainable format and business model.

He said: 'It is remarkable it has survived so far. It used to be a major business that competed head-on with Comet and Currys, but now it has got marginalised.'

In the financial year to March 31, gross operating revenue at PowerHouse fell to£143.9 million from£215.7 million. PowerHouse reported an EBITA loss of£17.6 million for the year from an£18.8 million EBITA loss last year.

The relaunch comes as analysts forecast a boom time for electricals retailers. Goldman Sachs noted that it expects the electricals market to pick up during the second half of the year.

Goldman Sachs added that electrical retailers should be able to deliver double-digit growth over the year, with an improved housing market likely to help sales of white goods, and strong underlying growth in brown goods expected to continue.