Dixons will today open a new format store under a new fascia as it seeks to emulate the success of Apple’s retail stores.
The 15,000 sq ft, three-floor store, called Black, was due to open today in Birmingham and is positioned as “the ultimate place to get up close with the most wanted gadgets around”, according to a spokesman.
The trial store will stock brands and products with an emphasis on performance and design. It is designed to attract shoppers who want the latest technology and designer brands, and a more inspirational shopping environment than Currys. It also hopes to attract more female customers, who might be deterred from the typical big-box Currys Megastores.
The Black logo is linked to the parent chain by the words ‘PC World and Currys’ at the bottom right hand corner, but is otherwise discrete from the main chain. The store also has a sleek shopfit.
Located on Birmingham’s High Street, Black will stock a selection of consumer electronics, TVs, computing, and an edited “airport-style” range of accessories.
Products include iPads and other tablets, laptops, MacBooks, iPods, MP3 players, TVs and accessories including designer laptop bags, such as Penelope & Parker bags, which at present retail in stores such as Selfridges with a price tag up to £295.
While most of the designer brands are already stocked at Currys, it is expected that Black will attract some new brands too.
Part of the Black store will be used to display products in “collections” linked by “topical theme” said the spokesman. They will include themes such as ‘Driving home for Christmas’ and ‘Objects of desire’. While the store will focus on smaller electronics, the collections area could sometimes house white goods if they fit the performance and design criteria.
The initiative builds on chief executive John Browett’s renewal and transformation plan, as part of which the retailer launched megastores, 2-in-1 stores, and improved service.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank consultant Robert Clark said the trial is a “logical move” for Dixons. He said: “Dixons used to be the place to go on the high street for all the latest gadgets but it didn’t evolve and it is now a very crowded market.
“It’s difficult to create a cool brand overnight but there’s definitely a place for this type of store. Dixons needs to ensure that its service is up to scratch as well as the product offer.”
Dixons has tried out several store formats over the past few years, including electronic accessories store Dongle, which traded for a short time on London’s Queensway and Dixons XL, a large footprint in-town format that was initially launched in Cardiff in 2002 with stores following in Birmingham, Swansea, Hull and Doncaster. The XL format was closed in 2005.