PC World (retailer)
||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (November 2013)|
|Fate||Merged into Currys|
|Headquarters||Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom|
|Parent||Dixons Retail plc|
PC World is one of the United Kingdom's largest retail chains of mass-market computers superstores. Established in 1991, it became part of Dixons Retail plc in 1993. Many of its physical stores in the UK now trade under the combined Currys PC World brand, and as PC City in Italy.
In November 1991, Vision Technology Group Ltd opened the first PC World store in Croydon. When Dixons Group plc (now Dixons Retail plc) purchased the chain in 1993, there were four PC World stores in existence. There followed a period of expansion as more stores were opened across the country. This expansion was partly driven by a series of acquisitions beginning with DN Computer Services in 1996, followed by Byte Computer Superstores Ltd in 1998 and MicroWarehouse in June 2004. In September 2006, PC World UK assumed management control of its French subsidiary.
In 2006, there were 163 PC World stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Sales in 2004/2005 (including PC World Business) were GB£1,695,000.
In late 2006, PC World launched "The Connected Home", selling PC based home entertainment systems and installation services.
In 2008, PC World reported its first ever loss, posting underlying losses of GB£29.8million in the six months to October 2008 compared to a GB£52.4million profit in 2007.
PC World today
The stores offer ranges of consumer-oriented PCs, laptops and peripherals, including DSG stores' own-brand Advent and PC Line. Stores also have a "KnowHow desk", which offers advice and services. Some stores also have a "Component Centre" area, which contains more basic PC components such as motherboards, hard drives and cases.
On 13 December 2007 it was announced that PC World would begin selling Dell PCs in their stores. This was one of many moves Dell made to sell their desktops and laptops to a wider market. This also includes Dell selling their XPS systems in many HMV stores across the UK.
PC World opened their first 2-in-1 megastore with Currys at Wandsworth Bridge, Fulham, on 29 October 2009 followed by Merry Hill Shopping Centre (West Midlands), Aintree (Merseyside) Teesside Park (Stockton-On-Tees) and Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen) in June and July 2010.
PC World has attracted criticism in a number of areas. Common complaints include:
- Failure to honour statutory responsibilities under the Sale of Goods Act (see controversies below)
- Promotion of goods with misleading or incorrect information (see false advertising below)
- Promotion of extended warranties (also known as insurance and support packages)
- Customers are required to use out-sourced, local rate telephone support for hardware issues or premium rate telephone lines (£1/minute, except for set-up which is 75p/minute) for software issues, unless an extended warranty has been purchased
- Overcharging for repairs and lack of technical competence among technicians from seven sampled stores
In 2005, a Which? survey ranked PC World joint last for customer satisfaction. In 2006 PC World attempted to get away from its reputation[who?] for having sales staff on up to 20% commission who would therefore use high pressure sales tactics with its "One Team" marketing campaign. This involved adverts in major newspapers claiming staff no longer received commission, however this claim is misleading[who?]. Staff now receive a bonus based on the performance of the entire store as a whole (up to £200), meaning that pay is still linked to performance. The bonus is also based on other non-monetary metrics, such as customer satisfaction. To compensate the 275 highest earners under the old scheme for reduced bonuses, their basic pay was raised by 16% from around £11,000 to around £13,000 per year.
In response to the perception that PC World staff are often young and lacking in knowledge and communications skills[who?], in 2007 a set of e-learning courses called "The Power of Knowledge" were completed by 6,000 staff and the results were incorporated into their Christmas bonuses as an incentive for staff to improve their knowledge.
In 1997, Gary Glitter took his PC into a branch of PC World in Bristol for repair, where child pornography was found by staff. PC World informed the police and Glitter was subsequently charged and convicted of possession of child pornography.
In 2005, after 56 complaints from TV viewers, PC World was forced to remove an advert that gave misinformation about wireless networking. There have also been numerous other complaints over ads, particularly regarding goods advertised but not actually available in the stores.
In 2007, a customer alleged that when he returned a laptop under warranty with a faulty hinge, PC World refused to honour their warranty because he had installed a Linux operating system on the laptop, and therefore had invalidated the warranty he had had on the product, although the fault was a hardware matter and would not have been affected by the operating system installed.
In Italy the retailer is called PC City.
PC City formerly traded in several other countries. In Sweden its stores were closed in 2009, and the online operation has since switched to the ElectroWorld brand. 34 Stores in Spain also operated under the brand PC City, but in 2011 all Spanish stores were closed as part of Dixons Retail's withdrawal from the Spanish market.
- "PC City". Dixonsretail.com. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Currys and PC World post first half-year loss in 20 years as High Street gloom spreads". Daily Mail. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Paying too much for reassurance
- "Out-sourced Premium Rate technical support". Pcworld.co.uk. 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- Dan Thomas. "Dixons owner arranges outsourcing Deal". Personneltoday.com. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Overpriced Computer Repairs". Which.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "PC World ranks joint last in survey". Which.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "PC World move change reputation". Channelregister.co.uk. 2006-03-24. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Staff pay still performance related". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- Survey completed by staff[dead link]
- Worst shops in Britain
- "Glitter jailed over child porn". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Misleading advert removed". Channelregister.co.uk. 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Advert complaint 1". Channelregister.co.uk. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "Advert complaint 2". Channelregister.co.uk. 2006-04-12. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- Fiveash, Kelly (2007-09-13). "Returned laptop with hinge problem". Theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- "PC City blir Electroworld" [PC City becomes Electroworld] (in Swedish). Retrieved 5 August 2013. "PC City blir Electroworld [..] Electroworld har övertagit hanteringen av befintliga kunder till PC City. (Automated translation: "Electro World has come to Sweden! [..] Electro World has taken over the management of existing customers to PC City. ")"
- Link to PDF press release[dead link]