Dixons Retail

Dixons Retail
Dixons Retail plc
Type Public
Traded as LSEDXNS
Industry Retail
Founded 1937
Headquarters Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
Key people Lord Kalms
John Allan
John Browett
(Chief Executive)
Products Brown goods
White goods
Information Technology
Consumer Electronics
Revenue £8,531.6 million (2010)[1]
Operating income £133.2 million (2010)[1]
Net income £57.3 million (2010)[1]
Employees 40,000+ (2010)[1]
Website www.dixonsretail.com

Dixons Retail plc (LSEDXNS) is a British company and one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in Europe. The company operates Dixons.co.uk as well as Dixons Travel, Currys, Currys.digital, PC World and Electro World stores along with many other brands across Europe including: Pixmania, Equanet and Advent Computers.

The company, formerly known as Dixons Group plc and later DSG International plc, specialises in selling high technology consumer electronics products, audio-video equipment, PCs, small and large domestic appliances, photographic equipment, communication products and related financial and after sales services (e.g. extended service agreements). They also sell other products and services such as electrical products, spares, repairs, mobile services, online digital photo processing, pre-recorded media and childcare equipment.

Dixons' main competitors are pan-European electrical retailer MediaMarkt, Best Buy Europe and Kesa Electricals plc, which owns Comet and Darty. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Dixons Retail has started to re-brand all stores with 'The Tech Guys' to the new KNOWHOW format; the transformation is due to be completed by last quarter of 2011. All delivery centres, warehouses, repair centres and training centres have been rebranded and re-structured. KNOWHOW are now performing deliveries for Currys, Currys.Digital, PC World and Dixons. KNOWHOW will also take over the company's support and protection products 'Whatever Happens' and 'Instant Replacement'



Early years

Dixons was founded as a photographic studio by Charles Kalms and Michael Mindel in the High Street in Southend under the name of Dixons Studios Limited.[2] The name Dixons, selected randomly from the telephone directory, was sufficiently short to fit above the small shop front.[2] During the early 1940s Dixons set up seven studios around London but by the end of the War the business was reduced to a single studio in Edgware.[2] Stanley Kalms, the son of the founder, joined the business in 1948 and started advertising the Dixons products in the press.[2]

In 1950 the company started selling cameras and in 1957 opened a new head office and buying centre in Edgware to accommodate the staff dealing with 60,000 mail order customers and to provide administrative back-up for its six stores.[3]

Dixons was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1962 changing its name at that time to Dixons Photographic Limited.[4] It bought out competitors, Ascotts, in 1962 and Bennetts, in 1964.[4] In 1967 Dixons bought an 85,000 sq ft (7,900 m2) colour processing laboratory in Stevenage.[4]

Charles Kalms was succeeded by his son Stanley in 1971.[5] In 1972 Dixons acquired another competitor, Wallace Heaton, and in 1974 it opened its Stevenage distribution centre.[5]


In 1993 Dixons bought Vision Technology Group (VTG), operating under the PC World brand at Croydon, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Brentford and Staples Corner.[6] Later that year the company sold VTG's mail order division, Dixons US Holdings Inc and Supasnaps.[6]

It opened its first Tax Free store at Heathrow Terminal 3 in 1994 and then later that year launched The Link, the company's first venture into communications. The Head office was moved to Hemel Hempstead.[6]

In 1996 DSG bought DN Computer Services, a computer reseller business.[6] It also acquired the retail assets of Harry Moore Ltd, an Irish electrical retailer.[6]

Cellnet bought a 40% stake in The Link in 1997. Also that year the Dixons website was launched.[6]

In 1998 Freeserve, a free internet service, was launched: it was later sold to France Telecom and renamed Wanadoo.[6]

DSG bought Elkjøp ASA, a leading Nordic retailer, in 1999.[7]

2000 to 2011

In 2002 DSG bought UniEuro, a leading Italian-based electrical retailer,[8] and Genesis Communications, a mobile phone service provider.[9] DSG opened its first Electro World store in Hungary.[10]

Further expansion came in 2005 when DSG bought an interest in Eldorado Group, the largest electrical retailer in Russia and Ukraine, with an option to buy the rest by 2011 at a fixed price of $1.9 billion USD (£1 billion GBP).[11] In 2006 DSG was awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise.[9] The company announced that the Dixons brand would continue purely online and that all high-street stores will be rebranded Currys.digital.[9] Dixons also bought 75% of Fotovista, a French photographic business.[12]

In January 2008 DSG announced that it would stop selling analogue TVs. Only Integrated Digital Televisions would be sold, in an effort to get consumers ready for the digital switchover.[13] However, despite claiming they stopped selling analogue TVs, customers were able to purchase analogue TVs until September 2008 when current stock was cleared. In many cases, customers were sold a digital set top box when they purchased an analogue TV.

In May, Dixons announced[14] that it would close 77 of its 177 UK Currys.digital shops as their building leases expire over the next five years.[15] The reduction reflected the news that US Electrical rival Best Buy was seeking to establish itself within the UK.[16]

In May 2010 DSGi closed the technical call centre in Nottingham with over 450 redundancies [17]

In May 2010 DSGi also secured exclusive rights to sell the Apple iPad.[18] In June 2010 DSGi changed its name to Dixons Retail.[19]


The company's structure is detailed below.[20]

Exclusive Brands

Currys/PC World Essentials

Matsui was DSG's Own brand of low-cost electronics sold exclusively in DSG's Outlets. Its range included TVs, DVD Players, Cables, White Goods and blank media. Matsui has now been rebranded as the Currys Essentials range, which offers basic appliances and gadgets for a low budget price. PC Line was an own brand within PC World. It sold computer based items such as laptop bags, mice, keyboards, webcams, ink and blank discs. PC Line has now been phased out and rebranded as PC World Essentials, as Matsui has become Currys Essentials.


Logik is another own-brand used by DSG on low-cost consumer electronics. Logik's product range includes Set top boxes, Cables, White Goods, TVs, MP3 Players and headphones. Logik was the first company to market a TV with a built in iPod dock.


IWANTIT is an audio brand operated by Dixons Retail plc and makes electrical appliances such as earphones, radios and chargers.


Advent is a computer brand operated by Dixons Retail plc and makes electrical appliances such as notebooks, desktop PCs and tablet PCs.


Goji is an additional brand which makes accessories such as iPad accessories, Laptop/Netbook Cases/Slipcases and Headphones


Sandstrøm is another own-brand used by DSG on higher class Electrical items. Sandstrøm's product range includes Vision Products, MDA, SKA and other CE Items

Electricals Division


Black is a high-end electronics retail store opened by Dixons in late 2010. The first main store was in Birmingham, England. Dixons' second Black store opened in September 2011 in the new Westfield Stratford City, East London.[21]

Currys Megastore

The biggest electrical retailer is now opening megastores for more of a massive range of products from the smallest items to the biggest. The biggest Currys Megastore is in West Thurrock - Currys Megastore - Lakeside Retail Park, West Thurrock, Grays, Essex RM20 1WN. It consists of two floors with rented floor space to other companies, such as BlackBerry, Apple and TomTom. It is said to be the biggest store owned by Dixons Retail plc. There are currently 26 Megastores, 18 of which are joint Megastores (see below), 7 are solely Currys Megastores and there is 1 PC World Megastore at Junction 9 (M6) in Birmingham.

Currys PC World Megastore

There are now many joint Currys PC World Megastores in the UK. These include locations such as Bromborough, Glasgow Braehead, Teesside Park, Fulham, New Malden, Leeds, Mansfield, Coventry, Medway and Swansea. There are currently 18 joint Currys PC World Megastores with more opening across the country in 2011.


Currys is the UK's largest electrical retailer. It also has stores in the Republic of Ireland. The company's primary market is white and brown goods, but also sells small appliances, personal computers and mobile phones. Currys specialises in home electronics and household appliances. Currys is known for slogan "Currys, No Worries", but is now replaced by "We Can Help". Currys Sponsors The Simpsons on Sky1 from 2009–present.

Currys Digital

Currys Digital is the rebranded name for Dixons retail outlets in the UK (excluding Ireland and the Dixons Travel stores operating in UK airports). Currys Digital is branded as a specialist division of Currys aimed at technology-focused consumers with a product range including cameras, personal computers, audio and video equipment.

Currys & PC World

A combined-format store is now being rolled out which combines a selection of home electrical and appliances from the Currys range alongside a selection of computers and related equipment from the PC World chain. The first trial store was opened in 2008 in Weybridge, Surrey. The stores in this chain are primarily Currys and Currys Digital stores which have been refurbished, replanned and rebranded to the new format There were, a number of stores which were PC World stores before the combined format was introduced. These include Staines and Tottenham Court Road.

Dixons Travel

Dixons Travel is the number one technology retailer in UK’s airports, with a total of 31 stores in the UK and Europe.

DSG Ireland

DSG Ireland has stores in major cities of the Republic of Ireland. DSG Ireland announced that they will not adopt the new Currys.digital branding for high-street stores, instead retaining the traditional Dixons branding, with Currys being used exclusively for large-format superstores. This decision was later reversed, and all Dixons stores have been rebranded to Currys, except the one in the Jervis Shopping Centre, which became a PC World. Dixons have more or less brought their Ireland operations in line with the UK.

Electrical Clearance Store

Currently with three stores, in Chester, Chesterfield, and Manchester, they are the outlet for clearance, pre-owned, damaged, and ex-repair stock from the Currys and PC World stores around the country and also Dixons.co.uk. A fourth store at Westfield Shopping Centre, Merryhill, closed in July 2011.

Electro World

Electro World is DSG's chain of electrical superstores in the Czech Republic, Turkey and Greece.

In Hungary the first 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) hyperstore opened in Budaörs, a town in the Budapest metropolitan area, in 2002. In the Czech Republic the first Electro World store opened in Praha Zlicin in 2002. In Poland the first Electro World store was opened in October 2005 at the Targowek commercial centre in Warsaw.

More stores have since opened in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Electro World operates a Central Europe distribution centre just outside Brno in the Czech Republic. The 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) warehouse is the largest warehouse for non-food goods in that country.

DSGi used to operate in Hungary and Poland, but has since withdrawn and sold all their ElectroWorld outlets. Electro World shops in Hungary were closed in 2011.


Partmaster is a specialist retailer of spares, consumables and accessories for brown and white goods with over 21 years experience in retailing electrical products. It stocks over 1 million lines.

Κωτσόβολος (Kotsovolos)

Kotsovolos is an electrical retailer in Greece. Since September 2009 it also operates PC City as a Store-in-store franchise. As of 2009 PC City exist only in Greece (Athens) and they operate inside Kotsovolos stores.


Elgiganten ("Electronics Giant") operates stores across Sweden, Denmark and the Faroe Islands selling white goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.


Elkjøp ("Electronics Purchase") operates smaller, medium, big and XXL sized retail stores across Norway selling white goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.


Gigantti ("Gigant") operates retail stores across Finland selling white goods, brown goods, consumer electronics, personal computers, communications products and related services.

Lefdal Lavpris

Lefdal Lavpris operates larger retail stores across Norway selling white goods, brown goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.


UniEuro operates stores mostly in the north west and north east of Italy. The stores sell a mixture of high technology consumer electronics, personal computers, domestic appliances, photographic equipment, communication products and related services.

DSG Insurance Services

DSG Insurance Services issues insurance companies with gift cards with which their customers can purchase replacement goods covered under insurance agreements.

DSGI Sourcing

DSGI Sourcing provides sourcing services for key customers. They are based in Hong Kong.

Computer Division

PC World

PC World is a specialist chain of computer superstores. There are over 160 stores in the UK (excluding joint Currys PC World Stores) and 12 in the Republic of Ireland. All stores have a dedicated PC World Business Centre and all have a Tech Guys Service desk, rebranding to KNOWHOW starts May 2011

PC City

PC City exists in continental Europe as an extension of the PC World chain. Beginning with the acquisition of Ei System in Spain, the company has expanded over the years and now has a presence in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Sweden (website only). DSG closed its French stores in June 2007 and Spanish Stores in June 2011.

DSGI Business

DSGI Business is a specialist provider of IT solutions to business and the public sector. The main operation is based in Bury, near Manchester. It operates under the PC World Business. Macwarehouse and Equanet brands, offering dedicated business account managers. The Equanet brand itself offers highly-qualified technical experts to provide, manage and maintain business IT systems in the form of Equanet Managed Services (EMS - Formerly RITM). The company has specialist PC World Business Business Centres in each of more than two PC World stores across the country, offering immediate access to products. PC World Business sponsors the Daily Telegraph Business Club pages.

DSG Business Services

DSG Business Services sells goods to major customers and provides an account management system for them.


Genesis Communications is the UK's largest independent mobile service provider, operating in the business to business sector. It has partnerships with the UK's major mobile networks and offers a full wireless service, including hardware, customer account management and billing. Genesis is also the UK's leading supplier of wireless data services to the SME market, including 3G and Blackberry solutions.

New Businesses Division


Pixmania is a pan-European e-commerce retailer. It is present in 26 countries and boasts 7 million clients in Europe. Besides the possibility to shop online the clients can shop and pick up their products directly from Pixmania showrooms (Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Rennes, Brussels, Milan, Torino, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto).

Other businesses


whateverhappens is the successor of Coverplan. Currys stopped selling Coverplan in 2005, launching whateverhappens as its replacement. The product support is offered on most electrical purchases from Currys, Currys.digital and PC World, and over three million agreements have been sold. whateverhappens is currently run under the KnowHow Brand (Previously TechGuys) with primarily 2 levels of cover depending on where the product was purchased "Premier Club" and "Club".


Fotovista is a French photographic business founded as Studio National in 1970 by brothers Pierre and Jean-Emile Rosenblum.

Former business brands and companies

Mastercare Commercial Services offered IT services to IT businesses. A call centre provided telephone and email support, and a team of technicians and engineers provided repairs to PCs and laptops on site, and made inspections for insurance companies. The business was rebranded and merged with The TechGuys in September 2006. From 2008 the majority of all commercial work has been outsourced.

The Link is a UK mobile phone retailer. In June 2006 DSG sold its whole interest to O2. DSG still honours all contracts that exist with The Link but are no longer seeking new business.

Freeserve was purchased by France Télécom, and rebranded as Wanadoo. Wanadoo has since been rebranded again in the UK under the Orange brand.

Freetalk was a failed Voice Over IP (VOIP) business.

Jakarta : For a few years during the late 1990s, DSG operated a chain of computer games shops, called Jakarta. They were in various high-traffic locations (such as Bluewater and Lakeside), but failed to get the market share deemed essential to keep the chain operating. It was closed down during the early 2000s

Financial results

The following table shows the Company's financial results:

DSG International plc financial results
Fiscal Year 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Fiscal Year End Date 01/05/10 02/05/09 03/05/08 28/04/07 29/04/06 30/04/05 01/05/04 03/05/03 27/04/02 28/04/01 29/04/00 01/05/99 02/05/98
Turnover £ 000,000 8,531.6 8,227.0 8,545.9 7,929.7 7,072.0 6,982 6,491 5,750.5 4,888.2 4,688.2 3,889.9 3,156.3 2,791.9
Profit before tax £ 000,000 112.7 (140.4) (192.8) 295.1 302.9 336.8 366.2 278.6 282.3 647.1 * 472.1 * 231.3 213.3
Profit for the period £ 000,000 57.3 (219.3) (259.7) 2.4 211.7 243.1 289.4 207.8 211.2 602.6 413.7 186.2 166.4
Basic eps (p) 1.7 (10.2) (14.5) 10.9 11.7 12.6 14.4 10.7 11.0 31.5 22.5 41.1+ 36.9+

*The above trend profits for 2000 and 2001 were primarily attributable
to profits on disposal of Freeserve shares. +Pre stock split.


In the UK, distribution is by two different routes. The Home Delivery Centres (previously known as X-Docks) supply larger items throughout the country. These centres are at Avonmouth, Cardiff, Leeds, Thetford, Spennymoor, Epsom, Erith, Plympton, Southampton and Perivale: they are supplied by two main stock centres (hubs) in Newark on Trent and Avonmouth. The second route, Customer Distribution Centres, supplies smaller items direct to customers by courier. Distribution to stores also happens via the same two routes.

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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