- This article is about Currys.digital, the UK electrical retailer formerly known as Dixons. For the parent company, formally known as Dixons Group plc, see DSG International plc.
Currys.digital is an electrical retailer in the UK, and is owned by DSG International plc. 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 Ireland. It was known as Dixons until April 5 2006, when the company announced they were moving away from the Dixons brand, except in Ireland and UK airports.
The first Dixons was opened by Charles Kalms
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.
Business practices whilst trading as Dixons
The retailer has long suffered the reputation that its staff are unhelpful .
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
Also in 2003 The Daily Telegraph and The Independent reported that the chain had been selling used goods Dixons had been investigated by more than twenty-two of thirty county trading standards offices; in the previous two years thirteen counties had prosecuted the company and five had issued formal cautions, another 12 were contemplating prosecution Furthermore the chain has made a number of advertising claims which the Advertising Standards Agency judged were misleading and advertised in-store credit in a way that the Office of Fair Trading ruled unlawful
In January 2006 the BBC1 consumer rights programme Watchdog reported that Which? magazine had found Dixons the 5th worst retailer in Britain.
2006 Dixons rebranding to Currys.digital
On April 5 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 Kingston upon Hull
. This is because that branch was a Dixons XL store.
Dixons stores would still be retained in Ireland, and other locations such as airports, whilst also retaining its website.
The Dixons stores in The Netherlands had been sold off years before the rebrand and also still carry the Dixons brand.
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.
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.
As well as major brands they stock the DSG International plc own brand Advent computers and PC Line accessories.