|Headquarters||Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Nick Wilkinson
|Products||White goods, Telecommunications, Information technology|
Currys Digital is an electrical retailer in the United Kingdom owned by Dixons Carphone. With its origins in a photographic shop opened by Charles Kalms, the chain now has a store in most towns and cities across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The chain was formerly known as Dixons until 2006, when parent company DSG International announced they were moving away from the Dixons brand, except in Ireland and UK airports.
The first Dixons store was opened by Charles Kalms in Southend as a photographic studio in 1937. The business flourished during the Second World War, as there was much demand for photographic services and family portraits. By the end of the war Kalms had opened seven more studios in the London area. Unfortunately for Kalms, the demands for portrait services decreased considerably after the war, and he was forced to close all but one studio in Edgware, North London. There are now more than 30 stores across the United Kingdom and more than 7,000 staff working for DSGI.
Business practices while trading as Dixons
In November 1998 Dixons came under fire because of the prices it was charging for personal computers. Peter Mandelson said he was worried that consumers were getting a 'raw deal' because of the store's dominant position in the market. Intel's chief executive at that time, Craig Barrett, said that Dixons charges "ridiculous margins". The Intel Architecture Business Group said "Dixons has classic channel presence and can determine what gets sold at what price." Dixons responded that it could not make sense of the comments. The Consumers' Association said "Dixons controls over half of the high street distribution of PCs and they seem to be using this enormous market power to keep prices to consumers high" and has a "monopoly position in the high street". Criticism continued into 2000 when competitor John Lewis, with the support of two members of parliament, accused Dixons of stifling competition in the market by striking anti-competitive deals with suppliers.
The retail chain was criticised by the Consumers' Association in 2003 for the way staff pressured customers (through "dodgy sales tactics" and "dubious practices") into purchasing poor value extended warranties, an issue which was widely reported in the press, with Dixons facing particular criticism by virtue of supplying one-in-four of all extended warranties accounting for 40% of the store's profits.
2006 Dixons rebranding to Currys.digital
On 5 April 2006, Dixons announced that they were removing their brand from the high street and would only be using the Currys brand, Dixons rebranded as Currys.digital an extension of Currys.digital markets itself as a specialist division of Currys aimed at the technology-focused consumer with product ranges such as cameras, personal computers, audio and video equipment - as Dixons had in the past - while offering a small range of large and small domestic appliances that the traditional Currys stores sell. However, there are a small number of Currys.digital stores which still devote a lot of the store to appliances such as white goods. An example of this would be the Currys.digital in Bull Ring, Birmingham or on Northumberland Street in Newcastle upon Tyne. This is because that branch was a Dixons XL store. The store in Kingston upon Hull used to also display appliances, however recently[when?] underwent a revamp to bring it into line with the Currys.digital brand. Dixons stores would still be retained in Ireland, and other locations such as airports, while also retaining its website.
Before the Dixons rebranding, the Currys chain contained only a few small town-centre high-street stores compared with its much greater number of large out-of-town superstores.
In 2009, Currys.digital was renamed as Currys Digital, and, along with the main store, got the new Currys logo. As of 2010 Currys Digital stores will be refurbished as joint Currys PC World stores, the first of these opened in the Summer of 2010.
The large out-of-town Currys superstores are generally split into four main departments - Computing, Home Entertainment, Major Domestic Appliances and Small Domestic Appliances. While the Currys.digital format generally is similar to its larger sister stores (Currys) the layout tends to give more floor space to Computing and Home Entertainment while having a small selection of Major Domestic Appliances and Small Domestic Appliances.
- Dixons to rebrand shops as Currys BBC News: 5 April 2006
- Muspratt, Caroline (21 March 2004). "Dixons 'has least customer respect'". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Gahan, Mary (11 September 2002). "Will Sir Stanley go quietly from Dixons?". BBC.
- "Dixons prices investigated". The Independent. 22 November 1998.[dead link]
- "Dixons accused of PC profiteering on computers". The Independent. 20 November 1998.[dead link]
- "Dixons slated for 'fixing' PC market". The Independent. 9 April 2000.[dead link]
- "Retailers accused of 'dubious tactics'". BBC News. 6 February 2003.
- "Dixons chief blows fuse over warranty 'rip-off'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 13 February 2003.
- "Dixons hits back at warranty critics". BBC News. 14 February 2003.