|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2011)|
|Headquarters||Hemel Hempstead, England, UK|
|Key people||Joel Stevenson
(Group Retail Director)
|Products||White goods, Telecommunications, Information technology|
Currys is a British electrical retailer operating in the UK and Ireland and is owned by Dixons Retail. It specialises in selling home electronics and household appliances, with 295 superstores and 73 high street stores.
In April 2006, it was announced that Dixons stores (except in Ireland) would be rebranded as "Currys.digital", taking the total to 550 stores. In Ireland, the Currys brand continued to be only used for large-format stores, with Dixons retained on the main streets. However, in August 2008, the Dixons stores in Ireland were rebranded as Currys, similar to the UK move, but without the ".digital" suffix and with a new Currys logo.
Some stores in the UK are dual branded with the PC World name.
The first 100 years
Currys was founded in 1884 by Henry Curry (born in Leicester in 1850), when he started to build bicycles full-time in a shed at the back of his garden at 40 Painter Street, Leicester, England. He opened his first shop in 1888 at 271 Belgrave Gate, Leicester. In 1890 he moved to larger premises at 296 Belgrave Gate, then in 1900 to 285-287 Belgrave Gate. The company was put on a proper financial footing in 1897 when Henry formed a partnership with his sons, calling the company H. Curry & Sons. The business continued to grow and floated on the stock exchange in 1927. By this time the shops sold a wide variety of goods including bicycles, toys, radios and gramophones. Currys pulled out of cycle manufacturing in 1932 when they closed their Leicester factory but continued to retail Hercules bikes (badged as Currys) until the 1960s.
Currys was taken over by Dixons (now Dixons Retail, owners of the Dixons electrical products retail chain) in 1984 but maintained its separate brand identity. In April 2006, DSG announced that its Dixons stores (except in Ireland and in duty-free areas in airports) would be rebranded as Currys.digital, making a total of 550 Currys stores in all.
Before the Dixons rebranding, the chain contained only a few small town centre stores compared with its much greater number of large out-of-town superstores. These stores are generally split into four main departments - Computing, Home Entertainment, Major Domestic Appliances and Small Domestic Appliances. The stores are a mix of display products and self-service sections.
Customers can now reserve and collect products, meaning that products can be reserved on the Internet, then checked and bought at the local retail outlet.
High Street store closures
John Clare, Group chief executive, announced on 17 January 2007 that when the leases on the remaining 'Currys High Street' stores (not the rebranded Currys.digital stores) expired, it would be unlikely that they would be renewed: thus the stores will be closed at the earliest opportunity.
In December 2010, Currys opened a new high-end concept store under the 'Black' branding. The new store stocks high-end ranges and is laid out in a more fashionable way including mannequins and 'collection' displays. The store named simply 'Black' is situated in Birmingham city centre, which was chosen due to the more upmarket feel the city has created over the years, with stores such as Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and other major designers having a big presence in the area. The new branding and layout aims to attract more female shoppers who research shows feel alienated in the larger stores.
PC World combination
Currys and PC World stores have recently been rebranded as Currys PC World in some stores, with the two store formats merged into one. This has included the physical knocking together of some stores which were adjacently located. All advertising for the electronics side of both chains has now been merged.
- Mulligan, John (7 August 2008). "Electrical store Dixons to be rebranded under Currys name". Irish Independent.
- PC World and Currys trial joint store
- Walsh, Fiona (6 April 2006). "Dixons quits the high street after 70 years". London: The Guardian.
- W.A. Ecob (1 August 1936). Currys Magazine. p2: Currys Ltd.
- "Business Comment". London: The Independent. 2007-01-18.
- Currys and PC World go Black