Electricals company Dixons Carphone is merging its four tech and retail businesses under the Currys name as part of a major group rebrand.

Currys PC World and Dixons, alongside mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse and service partner Team Knowhow, will all become known as Currys by the end of October, with a tweaked visual identity and relaunched website.

Over 300 stores will be transformed as part of the rebrand, with the first new-look store unveiled today in Edinburgh.

“We’ve worked hard to become one joined-up business and becoming Currys reflects and accelerates that,” says Alex Baldock, CEO of Dixons Carphone. The group will also change its name to Currys plc on the London stock market.

While the rebrand comes with a new look and name, Baldock says the move represents a “gearshift” rather than “facelift”, adding that the decision has been made to better fit customer needs.

Merging brands is one thing, merging people and cultures another one entirely.

Claudia Struzzo

“They’ll see that it’s Currys, the number one, helping them from toasters to tellies, laptops to laundry, fridges to floorcare, mobiles to music,” Baldock says. “They’ll see it’s Currys’ experts who help them choose, afford and enjoy their tech to the full. It’s Currys which helps them get the most out of the tech they already have, giving it longer life as well as bringing them all the exciting new stuff.”

Earlier this year, Dixons Carphone announced it would be investing £190m in innovation over the 2020/21 financial year to help make shopping with its brands easier for customers.

That investment included a sum of £25m over two years into skills, wellbeing and reward programmes for colleagues, which the business said would enhance the customer experience in-store and via its 24/7 live video shopping service, ShopLife.

Currys will also be relaunching its website, and introducing a virtual repair service to help fix tech without the need for a home visit. Later this year it will also be launching a new mobile offer, which combines handsets, connectivity and ways to spread out the cost. The retailer will also be expanding its in-store ‘try before you buy’ model across a wider range of products.

“Our recently announced surge in innovation investment in colleagues, digital and stores is a winning formula that our competitors can’t match and will strengthen our position as market leader,” Baldock adds.

Why Currys?

According to Baldock, choosing to move forward with the Currys brand was a “no-brainer”.

“Since Henry Curry first started helping everyone enjoy the amazing technology of his day – the bicycle – in 1884, Currys has been the best-known and most trusted brand in tech,” he claims.

According to YouGov’s BrandIndex, Currys (or Currys PC World) is by far the superior brand when compared to Carphone Warehouse.

Currys claims a net index score of 23.7 for April 2021, while Carphone Warehouse scores a comparatively measly 3.4. The index score is a measure of overall brand health, calculated by taking the average scores for impression, quality, value, satisfaction, likelihood to recommend and reputation.

While both scored in the 90s for brand awareness, Currys claims an overall customer impression score of 30.9, while Carphone Warehouse scores just 3.2. On customer satisfaction, Currys scores 25.2 compared to Carphone Warehouse’s 7.5, and on likelihood to recommend, Currys achieves a score of 25.2 compared to 2.6.

The same trend can be seen across quality, value and buzz, though Currys only achieves a score of 3.2 for the latter, suggesting it has a way to go in driving positive noise around the brand.

The challenges and opportunities

Dixons Carphone recorded a relatively strong performance over the first half of its financial year up to 31 October, despite store closures and the impact of Covid-19. Electricals like-for-like sales grew by 17%, leading the business to record a profit before tax of £45m. Over the same period the previous year, the business recorded a loss of £86m.

Online electricals sales saw particularly notable growth, rising by 114% to £1.8bn. In the UK and Ireland alone, electricals online sales grew 145% to £1.3bn.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Claudia Struzzo, a marketing consultant and the former group brand and engagement director at retail group Kingfisher, suggests the Currys rebrand will, in the long run, help the business to optimise investment through scaling of internal and external operations.

We’ve worked hard to become one joined-up business and becoming Currys reflects and accelerates that.

Alex Baldock, Dixons Carphone

She says: “It will also help securing the lion’s share of voice in market, as well as eliminating internal cannibalisation – another brand is always a competitor as far as traffic, awareness, share of voice and pricing strategy go, whether they are part of the same company or not.”

More interesting, she says, is the opportunity that lies in using the merge as a “springboard” for launching the brand’s new customer proposition. “If executed correctly, it will bring more relevance to their customers,” she adds.

However, Struzzo warns that aside from the large financial and operational impact of transforming a big legacy of estate, the “toughest challenge” for Currys will be internal.

“Merging brands is one thing, merging people and cultures another one entirely,” she says. “There are operational issues to consider, but often resistance to change and cultural barriers to integrations are the toughest ones to manage and they pose a real risk to a successful execution of the new strategy.”

Nevertheless, Baldock believes the rebrand is “just the beginning” for Currys.

“We’re on a roll, and we’re going for it. We’re joining up our stores ever better with our strong online business, we’re investing hard, including in our brand. We’re winning with customers, and we reckon the year ahead will be our most exciting yet,” he says.

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