Office supplies giant Office Depot is testing shop-in-shops in electricals group Dixons Retail’s stores.
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It is the first time that the US giant has taken store space in this country and follows a similar model to that adopted by Phones 4U, which is building a 50-strong chain of shop-in-shops in Dixons-owned Currys and PC World stores.
The first Office Depot shop-in-shop, staffed by its own employees, opened on Tuesday in the PC World superstore in Croydon. Two more will follow this month and another two in March.
Office Depot will sell home office products such as ergonomic chairs and desk top accessories. The range is seen as a good fit with Dixons’ own ranges aimed at small business consumers through its network of PC World business centres.
Dixons Retail programme director Rupert Campbell said: “Office Depot’s expertise and strong product ranges will complement our offer.”
Office Depot UK and Ireland commercial director John O’Keefe said he was “very excited” about the tie-up. He said: “This is the first time we will be offering the Office Depot brand to retail consumers and is unlike anything that we have done before.”
O’Keefe said Office Depot had “shied away” from opening its own stores “in part because the costs of entry and building scale are significant, so Dixons’ desire to introduce leading partner brands is a great opportunity”.
He said opening standalone stores was not on the radar at present.
In the UK Office Depot, which owns the Niceday stationery brand, has so far focused on markets such as contract office supplies and direct sales. Globally it has 1,600 stores and generates annual sales of $12.1bn (£7.5bn).
Dixons has been overhauling its stores as part of chief executive John Browett’s renewal and transformation programme.
At Christmas the retailer suffered a 4% like-for-like sales fall at its UK and Republic of Ireland business but Browett was confident it had outperformed the market. He said that new format stores had continued to show gross profit uplifts in the region of 20%.