back to article Dixons blames PC World for falling sales

Dixons Store Group saw sales fall six per cent in the last quarter, despite good progress in sexing up its stores. DSG international, owner of PC World and Currys, did worse on its home turf - UK computing sales fell 17 per cent, in sterling, in the sixteen weeks ended 22 August 2009. The firm said reformatting of stores and a …


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  1. Anon the mouse

    Don't forgot the redundancies

    After who only knows how long they've finally got rid of a chunk of middle management too.

    Round our way that's translated as 1/3 of all managers gone.

  2. Tim Almond

    Business Sales?

    Haven't PC World run out of customers yet? How do they keep going? Does the Stockholm Syndrome also apply to computer retail customers?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1) Shoot staff that wander the shop floor asking "can I help you with that" and whom then spend an hour trying to persuade you to buy the product they get 'incentives' for.

    2) Stick remaining staff behind a counter, well equipped with tills, and train them to move faster.

    3) Stop trying to make money by ripping of customers with stupid, time consuming sales of consumables and by flogging worthless warranties. Put your prices up slightly to compensate. It works for everybody else.

  4. Dave 64 Silver badge

    @Business Sales

    "Haven't PC World run out of customers yet? How do they keep going? Does the Stockholm Syndrome also apply to computer retail customers?"

    Errr...I don't know...I'll have to go and ask the manager...

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Giles Jones Gold badge

    PC World

    Having gone to the Wednesbury store on Monday it's no wonder PC World are struggling, the store was in disarray due to some refurbishment or something. Made the shopping experience rather difficult.

    They sell Macs but no Mac software ?!? I certainly couldn't see Snow Leopard for sale, despite it being the current 'must have' for Mac owners.

  7. Pete 2

    @Tim Almond

    > Haven't PC World run out of customers yet

    Just goes to demonstrate the power of advertising. Or the possibility that the small amount of high-street competition PCW has, is even worse than they are.

  8. Matt Brigden

    Easy reasons they are losing sales

    The staff are as clued up on the gear as chimps . The stock is never in the right places on shelves and always mispriced . If you want parts your stuffed as they are never in stock or the parts available are woeful . If I want to buy a big screen tv I can though ..... Our local branch puts repackaged used kit in tatty boxes in with the new stock at same price. And Dsgi wonder why I go anywhere other than there .

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    What? PC World business sales? What self respecting business would be seen dead buying anything from PCW? Out of date, over-priced kit that is never in stock, spotty oiks and non-english speaking support "technicians". I sometimes wander around my local one just for a laugh and to do a bit of BOFHesque baiting whilst the significant other does "her" shopping.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business Sales - I used to like....

    A few years ago I was turned around with Business Sales at PC world.

    As business customer you could go into the store and pick stuff of the shelf and buy it at Business Prices (aka PCWB). Prices were competitive if not necessarly the best but for the convinience of walking away with the stuff there and then perfect.

    They stopped this. Now you pay the floor price or you wait for the stuff to be delivered. Well if I have to wait for the stuff to be delivered I will just order it online from someone cheap from the convinience of my own desk.

  11. Xpositor

    Allocation of Cash

    The Rights Issue was to cover two areas - the 'regeneration' of its stores, and 'upskilling' (i.e. training) its staff [to greatly improve perceived product knowledge].

    Of the £350m raised, £349,985,000 will be spent on the store makeovers, leaving approximately £5 per member of store staff. A copy of "The Bluffers Guide To Computers" costs £3.99, allowing £1.01 to cover the cost of the "I've been trained and I'm happy to help" badge that each member of store staff will be required to wear.

  12. LuMan

    Where in the world??

    DSGi have been off the mark for years now. I made a conscious decision to never shop with them again about 7 years ago and was regarded an idiot by family and friends for wilfully reducing my 'scope of choice' in the electrical goods market. Now I find it hard to find anyone who shops at a DSGi outlet - even online.

    I've said it before, but DSGi are nothing but box-shifters who care little for their staff, their products or even their customers. My sympathy for those who will lose their jobs due to upper management incompetence.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    even when they get it right....

    ...they get it wrong.

    Went online, "reserved" a wireless router for in-store collection.

    Got there, assistant eventually advised it was a stock error, none left. (Until that point I hadn't noticed the equal or better value promise on reservations.)

    They found someone else, who spent about 30 minutes trying to find the product (giving me a chance to read every notice in the store, including the promise, the only thing at that point that was brightening my day.)

    Fair enough, I was offered a router of equal or better value. Enter the store manager . The one offered was too expensive, find him a cheaper one, bollocked the assistant in front of me, was fairly unpleasant to me.

    Result? Yes I got a router, yes it was a bargain (not that it mattered, the one I wanted would have been fine) yes I went away reminding myself why I never go there.

    Handled differently, I could have been a praise singing customer.

  14. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    Challenging environment my arse

    As the UK's only big store PC and parts retailer it amazes me that they can continue being bad enough to make a loss in an environment with basically zero competition.

    They're overpriced, their stock is usually last year's tech, the prices for small bits and pieces, especially memory cards, are extortionate. Their audience must basically be people who are in a hurry (the only time you'll find me there) and those who are too old to trust the internet.

  15. ElNumbre


    My spending at DSG has actually increased in the last year. I've bought two internet radio's (MSRP £179, purchased at £24.99 each on clearance sale), a couple of wireless keyboard/mouse combo's on special at £29.99 ea (cheaper than off the 'net when factoring in postage) a mobile phone holder (£5, again, cheaper than off the net when factoring in postage) and a USB extension lead (a bloody rip off, so much so I've expunged the cost from my memory, but I needed it in an emergency!). I would however never buy anything 'big' from them like a computer, TV, iPod e.t.c. as the better deals are off the high-street. But they're a useful place to go and prod and poke the stuff your interested in (and gawp at the 100" telly) before shopping online.

    One tip though given by a friend who shopped at Curry's for white goods - pick your product, open up your internet enabled (non O2/non iPhone), check the price on their website. Its often cheaper, and you can reserve it on the website right there AT THE WEB PRICE, walk over to collections and pay the discounted rate!

  16. ElNumbre


    Oh yes, and the other problem with DSG, certainly round by here is that we've got a massive new Curry's (I believe its their flagship store) and PC-World moved to a bigger store opposite a couple of years ago. Both sell TV's, both sell Computers. Both are doing home entertainment and computer accessories. The only difference is that Curry's does white goods as well.

    Are there really that many people left who don't realise that they're the same company, offering the same products at the same price? Thats the only explanation I can see for building two stores from the same company, competing for the same customers opposite each other. Either that or poor management.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    Good. Having worked for these people I'm damn glad they're on their way out.

    I remember one supervisor bragging about playing "phone ping pong" with customers phoning up their customer service lines - a customer would call and be transferred between two depts - the monkey who got the call would then raise their hands before returning the "swing".

    It's not only their customers they treat with utter contempt, it's their staff too. Whilst I was there two other people were left homeless as a result of non payment of wages.

    Sod em!

  18. John I'm only dancing

    I like nothing more..

    ...than going into my local PCW when the missus is shopping elsewhere, locking the Mac 'experts' out of their mac and then ask them for's great fun advising them what to do to get it working....a great way to waste a bit of time. As for actually buying anything off them, fat chance.

    With regard to the TV's and Home Theatre systems which seem to be about half the products they are trying to punt, Just go to the Dixon website and buy it there. It is even cheaper than Curry online, though you do have to wait a couple of days for delivery.

  19. Jay 2
    IT Angle

    How exactly do they make money?

    @ElNumbre - Like you I wonder about how PCW can survive doing such things. A few years back I reserved a router online for about £10 cheaper than in store. When I went to pick up said router it wasn't in the cage where pre-ordered stuff was kept, so a shop monkey scuttled off to find me one from the shelf. So a few clicks saved me money compared to just walking in and picking up.

    Mind you before that I reserved a printer for a decent price, turned up, and they didn't have any. Well the only one they had was on the shelf in a box that had obviously been opened. Strangely they didn't offer me that one!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    perhaps they should keep up

    I used to work for DSG in pcworld back when you used to get commission, I was always sure to explain the technology to people and usually try and explain what things did and didn't do, I was at the time studying for a computer science degree and knew my stuff. Of course I worked on a Saturday and Sunday as did all the people who actually knew anything.

    The focus was on selling kit but above all to sell their coverplan, this should not be a suprise, insurance (we were trained never to call it that) is a high markup item, In fact we were encouraged to downsell the customer to make it possible for them to afford the expensive insurance.

    Now that insurance was quite good, it did what it said and whatever tales of woe you hear it was ok, but it was expensive, and I saw loads of people get underpowered computers because of a sales target.

    PC world made lots of money whilst people didn't understand PC's and they were a luxury item, what happened was the market changed, everyone now understands pc's or have a 6 year old that does and their business model is no longer supporting the market.

    PC World will limp on with expensive kit, but it will never again be the first choice of anyone to buy a PC, its just stupidity to buy there when the internet is there with better quality kit at a lower price.

  21. Shades

    @ElNumbre, RE: TBF

    "One tip though given by a friend who shopped at Curry's for white goods - pick your product, open up your internet enabled (non O2/non iPhone), check the price on their website. Its often cheaper, and you can reserve it on the website right there AT THE WEB PRICE, walk over to collections and pay the discounted rate!"

    Your friend is a genius!!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Statute of limitations?

    They're running out of mugs, pure and simple. Years ago, an old boss told me "a satisfied customer tells his family, a dissatisfied one tells the whole street!" These days, the internet must surely mean a ripped-off customer (and PC World must have millions by now) tells half the planet.

    Frankly I'm amazed this entire group of bent-as-a-9-bob-note companies has lasted as long as it has. Certainly the only remarkable thing about my nearest branch is how empty it always is, even on the busiest of shopping days. I used to walk around there just for a laugh, but they're not even funny any more.

  23. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Thumb Down

    @ AC 09:10 "Suggestion"

    "1) Shoot staff that wander the shop floor asking "can I help you with that" and whom then spend an hour trying to persuade you to buy the product they get 'incentives' for."

    Abso-frickin-lutely. A few weeks ago, I went into a PCW looking for an external hard drive (not to buy, you understand, I just wanted to get an idea about how sturdy a model was, as I have a habit of knocking them off my desk). I was approached by one of their friendly I'm-here-to-help chimps who asked me what I was looking for. "Tohiba 1TB external HDD", says I, impressed despite myself that he approached without hesitation when he saw me looking blankly around for the appropriate section.

    "aha", he replies. "I know just the item you need"

    And proceeds to try to flog me a gaming desktop (you know, the Vista Omega, 20GB RAM, 6-zillion GB HDD, 120GHz oct-core processor with a price tag that provoked my gag reflex). It actually took me a couple of minutes to figure out what had just happened, and how he could possibly have made a connection between what I had asked for, and what he was showing me.

    Then I remember. Chimp on commission. And (loudly enough to be heard by other customers and staff in the area) declaim: "This is not what I asked for. It is not even remotely connected to what I asked for. I assume you are simply trying to ramp up your minimum wage by hoping that I will be bamboozled by big words and intimidated into buying what you want me to buy, which is not what I need. In fact, you have just lost your store the sale of 20 external HDDs now, and my company's patronage in the future. Good day, sir!"

    OK, so he didn't in fact lose any revenue. Also, OK, the language was not quite as described above. I believe I may have inadvertently seen some moments of the current period drama season whilst passing through my front room over the weekend, as my significant other has a penchant for such things.

    the morals of this story:

    1. Don't ever ask a PCW staffer to show you something.

    2. Period dramas should be banned henceforth because at this rate I'll end up wearing a cravat...

  24. MPT

    PC Universe

    Every time you get asked "what tv computer etc ....type of electrical product should i buy?" I send them to PC world. tell them to find what they like then go on-line and find it cheaper, more upto date and importantly, with friendlier service elsewhere within no time at all.

    if it was commission based, oh its not worth thinking about.

  25. Yorkshirepudding

    did it for the lulz

    i only go in a DSGi store now to scope out equipment, last snotty salesmen i spoke to in PC world had the cheek to tell me to speak to someone in the industry because i wouldnt let my friend by symantec with a potential new laptop because he can get free AV

    fools let them all burn!

  26. dunncha

    One positive mention

    Once a long time ago when computers were new and I was building my first setup I was having a problem with the System crashing.

    I was desperate (it was a Sunday)... so I went into PCW and asked one of their tech's. He correctly diagnosed incompatible RAM and then sold me the correct RAM. Went home stuck it in... Bingo

    I was cheered, happy over the moon... PCW are top sellers I said.... until I went in looking for a PC for my Mum.

    I must admit 'I' didn't know I needed a 'Printer' to connect to the internet. And the extended guarantee that stops Pedo's well that's another story.

    So at one time it may have been good.......... but not any longer. I most certainly not advise a novice to shop there.

  27. Blubster


    If I'd know Pixmania was owned by these bastards, I wouldn't have bothered. Can kiss goodbye to the warranty on the printer I bought from them - Dixon's are famous (allegedly) for trying to cheat you out of a replacement item when it packs in after a fortnight or so.

    Could explain also why I'm getting Spammed by Pixmania at every opportunity even though I've `unsubscribed` from their website.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dixons blames PC World

    Most people blame PCworld for *something*; why should Dixons be any different?

    And what was that about "...on the high street"? Mostly they are not on the high street, they are in a corner of some far-off and god-forsaken "retail park". Yep, that's the place: next-door to Halfords!

  29. Sooty

    pcworld have their place

    they don't seem to play to it though. They are pretty much the only pc retailer with a physical presence!

    i've used them twice that i can think of, both times have been for emergency kit replacements on a sunday morning, order online then set off to pick up.

    I knew i could walk in and buy something i needed then and there, even if it was a little more expensive. however, if i didn't need it that day, i'd probably go somewhere else.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Treat 'em mean....

    PCW treat their staff abysmally, no wonder they couldn't give a fuck.

  31. Puck
    Paris Hilton

    High street showers

    I think DSG's business model could be fairly well summed as "there's one born every minute...". Just try pitching that in your local Business Link nowadays!

    Lol@andaroo79 ("...death to PC World...").

  32. My New Handle

    Oh just die will you?

    These pair of showers of shit are well past their sell-by date. All that needs be said about them has been said above. So why do they persist?

    At least where I live DSG have had the goodness to shut down their high street stores following the rebranding of Dixons to Currys Digital, then shutting the local Currys and now [thankfully] shutting down the rebranded store.

    I don't know if they have some kind of psychic aura around them but the hairs on the back of my neck and my irritation gland would swell on any occasion that I had to walk past their storefronts.

    Good riddance to bad news, thats what I think. Fuck 'em. Crapheads.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Their stores here are no nonsense with decently priced appliances and electronics. OK for laptops with some great deals but components and consumables are overpriced. As for PCs I don't even look. Like Lidl in groceries, they are the foreign challengers undercutting the local incumbents on price. No wonder they do well.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Not Surprising !

    Crap Firm, Crap Prices, Crap Clueless Staff, Crap Service - Good to see they are doing so well.........

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Two questions...

    1) Do the super stores increase the amount of sales or just confuse the fudge out people? I went to the big currys super store near Birmingham and it had too many items in it. Looking at about 100 different flat screens side by side made choosing more difficult and more confusing, and I am someone who understands most of the jargon. Also as far as I could see the prices in the superstore were no cheaper than in the standard store.

    2) Why are PCWorld and Currys seperate? Why not merge the two shops and half some of the outgoing costs. Unless the two shops work out cheaper through some tax fiddle that I cant work out or it stops competition moving in next door.

  36. Medium Dave

    Marx Brothers vs The Three Stooges

    Film at 11.

  37. John 152


    At all the clueless fools that have commented on this thread !!!

    There is no commision at PC World !! Please do your homework..

    Collect and Reserve has been ongoing for ages and if you speak to a mamber of staff in a PC World you will be allowed to use their machines to book your product at the online price, no need for fancy phones, etc !!

    Foe every 2 people that moan about DSGi there are 3 that provide positive / praising feedback...

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