Converging on convergence
Having announced the formation of a still unnamed joint company with Best Buy yesterday, Carphone Warehouse (CPW) spoke to HEXUS.channel today to clarify what this will mean for European technology retailing.
“From 2009 onwards we will begin a rapid expansion plan with a much larger footprint,” said a CPW spokesperson. “It will specialise in connectivity products such as smart phones and laptops, but the precise product range hasn’t been determined yet.”
It seems that Best Buy and CPW had identified an under-exploited part of the European technology retail sector. “Consumer electronics has been the fastest growing sector in retail over the past few years,” said the spokesperson. “The way consumer electronics are presented and delivered in Europe is not that good and it’s our intention to improve it.”
Best Buy apparently decided it would be better to have a half-share in a brand already well established in Europe than try to effectively build the Best Buy brand from scratch over here.
It was confirmed that the 2,400 current stores and the 120 already slated to be rolled out across Europe will remain CPW-branded. The purpose of the new stores will be much more in the out-of-town superstore category, and are clearly intended to show DSG how to do it.
The whole premise of the thing seems to be a bet that IT/CE/telco convergence is going to be what the technology retail market is going to be all about in future and they definitely have a point. By 2009 it should be common-place for laptops to have a sim-card slot as well as Wi-Fi and Intel Atom-driven mobile internet devices should be hitting the mainstream.
By making itself synonymous with IT/telco convergence – i.e. the place where you can buy a laptop, a phone AND your voice and data contracts – it will be well placed to capitalise on what is bound to be a rapidly growing market. The question is, what will the likes of DSG and Media Markt do in response?
Further reading - Opinion: The Yanks are coming