back to article Dixons Carphone profits drop 24% amid hack 'n' high street struggles

Dixons Carphone's annual pre-tax profits have taken a dive, falling 24 per cent to £382m. closed sign Dixons to shutter 92 UK Carphone Warehouse shops after profit warning READ MORE Its full-year results, out today, confirm that the firm has taken a beating as it struggles with customers upgrading phones less often and the …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    In about 2013 I went to Currys to buy a TV. Saw one, and me being me I decided to haggle to get a deal on it.

    The guy I was dealing with said no, no deal. Don't even bother, no money is coming off this TV. I told him that wasn't very sporting of him, and he said "Well Curry's don't have to worry about the high street competition. Where else are you going to buy a TV? Comet?"

    "I can get that TV from the internet for £50 less" I told him

    "Yeah but you have to get it delivered, this you can buy now and watch tonight."

    I left him to it. Safe in the knowledge he was talking bollocks and he'd have his short sharp shock soon enough. 5 years later is better late than never.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Linux

      RE: Wolfe

      Last time i went to Currys the smug twat there blatantly refused to sell me the laptop i wanted and kept directing me to the models above £1000. He made it clear quickly he was on commission.

      I once again asked for the model that i actually wanted only to be told to buy it on the website.

      Bought a better spec model from Scan computers for £300 less and no bloatware (No Windows license either)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: RE: Wolfe

        "Last time i went to Currys the smug twat there blatantly refused to sell me the laptop i wanted"

        The latest thing in retail seems to be that bricks & mortar should deliver "experiences". They really need to ensure that they can deliver better experiences than that. The fact that the e-word is usually a warning about user interfaces doesn't bode well.

      2. AndyMulhearn

        Re: RE: Wolfe

        Last time i went to Currys the smug twat there blatantly refused to sell me the laptop i wanted and kept directing me to the models above £1000. He made it clear quickly he was on commission.

        Well unless he only got commission based on the selling a particular product or if the price is above a certain value then he's not long for that world is he.

        Explains to manager "Yeah, I ended up selling him nothing because there was more commission on the other laptop". Manager shows salesman door, inserts boot up arse, salesman joins the long queue of those waiting for Universal Credit payments.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: Andy

          More than likely he'll tell the manager he's never seen me before or deny it went down that way...

          His sales tactic probably works on less savvy people buying for their kids.

      3. SimonHayterUK

        Re: RE: Wolfe

        Sorry but your talking trash. PC World Currys stopped paying commision to their staff on margin sales and insurance over 12 years ago (2006). Floor staff are now paid a low hourly rate which can only increase by taking training provided by DSG PLC. The only reason that he would have pushed you to a higher model is that he mistakenly thought it was right for you. Why? because these members of staff rather sell 'cheaper' items and then pile on the addon's that generate far more profit margin than the actual device. Sony laptops, for example, are only 1-5% profit margin, to put this into respective they make more money selling you anti-virus (40-50% profit margin) for £50 than they do the laptop. But why would the staff even bother attempting to sell high margin products and services? because the management run project fear with performance reviews on their staff, its an absolutely awful company to work for.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: Simon

          Maybe so. Maybe i was just unlucky enough to be dealing with the manager? Or the local idiot? All i know is that i'd researched what i wanted specifically and Currys had it. They had a display of it in store and refused to sell it. The hard/idiotic sales technique the guy tried lost a sale and introduced me to a company i have since bought 2 laptops from and quite a bit of storage hardware.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      "I can do without TV for a day" would be my response.

      Shops are dead. My town is actually rebuilding all the town centre to replace the shops with a single shopping centre and lots of flats.

      I only ever used such stores to do the hands-on free trial. How big is that fridge? Oh, it's got this sticky-out bit? That'll never fit in our kitchen, then. What's that TV look like? Yeah, that'd work with our wall colour. How much washing could I get in that machine? Yeah, look, it looks huge on the pictures but it only goes as far as elbow deep.

      Then Google the model and buy it cheaper and delivered to your door next day.

      I haven't bought any products from them in decades. They then took to making "exclusive" models that you couldn't Google but they were just normal models with tiny tweaks and number changes. At that point, I stopped using them even for that.

      It's the 21st Century. Order a product at work, get it delivered that evening, pay a guy to lug it up the stairs and fit it, if it's not what you want / doesn't fit / wasn't the right bracket, just send it back. Paying someone to maintain a huge glass-front monstrosity selling products at massive markup with four idiots wandering around trying to advise people on a USB cable? No, I'd rather pay a company that stocks products, reduces overheads, employs people to do a worthwhile job and works outside of 9-5 when I'M DAMN WELL WORKING TOO.

      Last appliance I ordered online was a washer-dryer. It was cheaper than EVERY SINGLE MODEL in the local shops, despite being the same brand-name. I checked out the specs, measured my kitchen to see if it fit, ordered online. adding on the "we fit for you" option (£10? Wasn't much, certainly), selected a delivery day, paid for it. It turned up one evening, was carried to my door and up a flight of stairs, was fitted and tested with me there, and the old one removed and carried away for me.

      Same with grocery shopping. Press a button. Some poor sod at Tesco's has to collate 100 separate times including a bunch of soft drinks (because I order 10 if I order them online), pack them, load them, drive them to my house, unload them, maybe even carry them upstairs and unpack them for me (I tend not to and instead operate ultra-efficient "throw it all on the floor / table, I'll tip it all out, then you can go have five minutes in your van before your next job while I stick it straight in the fridge" methodologies). And it costs.. what? £2.50 if it's a late-night slot? £5 at peak? It costs me that to drive there, mess about with bags, physical labour, packing, unpacking, etc. and an hour out of my free evening.

      I don't want to pay for their ginormous new supermarket 100 yards from their "Express" supermarket. I don't get why there isn't really a supermarket "brand" that doesn't have actual supermarkets. Amazon Fresh is really just Morrison's in the UK.

      I will happily pay the "online saving" difference in extra delivery charges etc. and not having to go to a shop, any day. It's 2018. I already don't get much free time, and what time I spend working I do so such that I can make most use of my free time. I'm not interested in maintaining big flashy places with enormous heating/cooling/lighting bills that add that price onto the bottom of my receipt.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't do grocery shopping online. I enjoy it. Sometimes I like to get something new that I haven't had before. I can also choose the freshest fruit and veg and search round the loaves to get the longest time before end date (it varies widely from 1 day to 5 days usually), it's also good exercise for body and mind as you spend a little time working out all the conversions as to which is the cheapest (Top Tip: Sometimes BOGOF isn't the cheapest and neither is the biggest pack) and as they are all 24-hour these days I can go when it's empty. Whats not to like?

      2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        The 21st century sure has become a Godsend for those of us with disabilities. Even factoring in the delivery charge, which is offset by the cost of whatever transport is available to us (they call it HandyRide hereabouts). Or, God forbid, the cost of a taxi.

    3. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Where else are you going to buy a TV?

      John Lewis?

      1. Adam JC

        Re: Where else are you going to buy a TV?

        John Lewis is where I bought my first Samsung Ultrabook a good few years back. It's the only time in my life I've ever heard a sales rep talk himself out of a juicy sale! An elderly lady behind me was clueless, looking at a £2500 odd top of the range Macbook Pro, he asked her what she wanted it for and she said she's never really had a computer before but one of her daughters friends told her Apple were easy to use and 'the best of the best'.

        He proceeded to sell her a £500 odd Core i3 with a 250GB SSD and sent her on her way. I had some major issues with my Samsung ultrabook (WiFi card was duff, they shipped a swap-it replacement to my work the following week with another brand new model and the keyboard looked like it had been ran over by a forklift). All said and done they gave me a £100 off voucher and all my money back and no hard feelings. Never have I ever received that kind of response from a high-street retailer before!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "John Lewis"

          I have no idea what the commision is there, Anon "because", but it was not JL. But if he was going pure profit drive, then the profit on the Apple product was probably £10, and on the PC was £20. If he was going turnover, then yes he lost out, but on store profit, the PC would bring in more for the store (and return custom as who needs more from Apple?).

          Apple usually gouge stores at selling their items at near cost. Though again, I nev new the Apple approved prices (JL), just the small store local costs (Highstreet).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I left him to it. Safe in the knowledge he was talking bollocks and he'd have his short sharp shock soon enough. 5 years later is better late than never.

      But people are now grumbling about the death of the high Street and the dominance of tax dodgers Amazon. I'll miss winding up Currys/PCworld sales staff once they are gone, time to find something else to do while the Missus shops online for shoes and handbags.

      1. Frenchie Lad

        Shoes & Handbags

        There's always porn to get you ready for the after shopping experience and the High Street can't offer that.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Shoes & Handbags

          That really depends on the High Street.

    5. HmmmYes Silver badge

      John Lewis.

      I got my LCD from the, Comes with 5 year warranty.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        John Lewis

        John Lewis sold me a throw for my bed £10 lower than the list price because there was a mark on the packaging. Very nice people and company. I felt so guilty accepting that discount for something that doesn't make a different to the product inside.

    6. SimonHayterUK

      After working for various tech companies and retailers I can tell you first hand that they make very little margin on TV's and other techy stuff, especially on laptops. That's why the staff are pushed to sell things like insurance because the profit on add-ons is far greater than the device. Expecting a street retailer to offer the same price as that online is never going to happen on most things due to online retailers have less overheads, this is why the high street is slowly dying. With the 'Comet' comment, you should have said John Lewis actually and I'll get a free 5 years warranty and the staff ain't tw4ts.

  2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    That's just business

    Years ago they cleverly found a way to separate people from their money in exchange for Ooh Shiny. Now people have got fed up with that, not to mention various macroeconomic stresses adding up to people being skinter than they used to be and needing their money for more important things than a donation to Dixons profits.

    If phones aren't profitable anymore then find something else to flog to people. Maybe there's mileage left in those daft tamaguchi electronic pets? OK I'll get my coat

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: That's just business

      Years ago they made their money from coverplans and over-priced cables, but that doesn't seem to work any more.

      Monster Cables are planning an Initial Coin Offering, that's how bad things are getting.

      1. Mayday Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: That's just business

        "Years ago they made their money from coverplans and over-priced cables, but that doesn't seem to work any more."

        A while ago I was in a shop and the sales guy was talking up some ~50yo about his TV and how he needs the best cables for it. "Oh you need this $100 Monster cable because of all the quality" etc. "Oh really? I am spending $3k on a TV so you must be right, I'll get that"

        I chose to intervene and told the fellow, "hey mate, digital cables either work or they don't, sure, there are standards, but if the cable is of that standard you get the same picture from a $3.50 one off of ebay as you do off this one." I went on to say if one is buggered then buy two and you're still in front.

        Sales drone scowled at me but I didn't give a toss.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: That's just business

          Some people still buy them, but Monster are making huge losses, so obviously there aren't as many idiots as before.

          When I saw the headline about Monster getting into blockchains, I initially assumed they had made an ethernet cable that was optimised for blockchain transmission, but no, they have pre-mined a load of Monstercoins, and apparently you will use them to buy your overpriced hdmi cables in future. It reminds me of the sort of dot.com business plans we saw 20 years ago that failed.

  3. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    This icon

    Says all I need to ------------------------------------------------------------------->

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: tax dodgers Amazon

    Romesh Ranganathan came up with an interesting take on that ...

    he said he'd rather his money went to tax-dodging companies - at least he knows it's not funding UK military actions around the world.

    Now, yes, it's simplistic, and yes, it's nonsense. But it also hints at a potential shift in the world order ...

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: RE: tax dodgers Amazon

      I'd rather not have any company tax-dodge, and still use online sites in preference to people taking my money to pay for a big store on a high-street that is closed for 90% of the time I could in theory get to it (I work 9-5, it's open 9-5, maybe I can do ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING on a Saturday?)

      At least with Amazon, you have absolutely no way to hide the tax dodging. My card paid their bank and there's an electronic record of the product, its origin, its delivery, etc. I bet a lot more tax dodging happens in retail stores (e.g. certain coffee chains) where they just ship all the money out of the country, and deal mostly in cash.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: At least with Amazon, you have absolutely no way to hide the tax dodging

        Business people who buy from Amazon need to be careful about VAT. Though you might think every business-related purchase can be claimed against (books excepted) because you bought it on Amazon, this is not always the case. You need to check the receipt to see whether the company actually supplying you is registered for VAT.

    2. Frenchie Lad

      Re: RE: tax dodgers Amazon

      You're forgetting Amazon's army of drones that will be dropping by soon.

  5. AndyMulhearn

    Future of the high street

    I bought an Apple HomePod from them six weeks ago but only because I happened to be in the area for other reasons and wanted one. Due to the way Apple price their goods, buying from Currys was no more expensive than Apple themselves so a bit of a no-brainer. And yes, Siri is a bit of a no-brainer but works well enough though a HomePod.

    Before that I got some SD Cards because we'd left home (on holiday) without extras and didn't like to be short. Surprisingly we got a two for one deal which made them the same price as online which shocked me to my core.

    Agree on loads of other comments though, it's hard to see where high streets can go from here. Barbers, restaurants and coffee shops seems to the future with everything else online. Which is a shame because where does someone get their needless and expensive impulse purchases?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Future of the high street

      Well John Lewis typically offer extended warranties (OK I know sale of goods act should make them unnecessary but...) and better service.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Future of the high street

      That's what Amazon Today's Deals is for.

      The days of me idly flicking through Maplin's, Argos, etc. catalogues are now instead spend going "Oh, that looks cool" and ending up on Amazon, GearBest, Wish, etc. and building up a huge wishlist of items that people then buy me for Christmas if I don't buy them first.

      "Impulse" shopping was always limited to a pack of sweets, for me. And usually just because I fancied one so I would have bought it at their competitors if it wasn't in front of me. Pretty much I've never spent more than a couple of quid "on impulse".

      Maplin's bargain bins were the only exception to this rule, but they vanished years ago. Last thing I bought from one was a Video Backer, which kinda tells you how long ago that was.

  6. RFC822

    Which is a shame because where does someone get their needless and expensive impulse purchases?

    Oh - I seem to be able to manage to do that online perfectly well.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      so does my partner!

  7. Bavaria Blu
    FAIL

    Making money from ignorance

    We're not typical punters - we are techies and know how to google for a spec sheet and indeed read the manual online to check out the nitty gritty before a purchase. For the average guy in the street, Currys have a good business model.

    The staff at Currys are not very knowledgable and obviously work on commission. So they can only really survive by selling over priced stuff to people who don't need it. I have three examples from Currys:

    1. A couple I know were bamboozled into buying a £80 Sandstrom HDMI cable as they were told their new blu ray / HD TV combo would have fuzzy picture without it.

    2. My grandmother was told her PC bought there didn't work as the hard disk had become greasy and needed to be cleaned for a greater cost than a new hard drive.

    3. A elderly neighbour was sold £100 anti-virus for an ipad

    If they don't want to go the way of other retailers like Wolworths or Maplin I think long term they'll have to change. Close down a few sheds and make shops which are actually pleasant to visit. Perhaps with knowledgable staff not on commistion. Not going to happen I know!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making money from ignorance

      make shops which are actually pleasant to visit. Perhaps with knowledgable staff not on commistion

      Sounds a lovely idea, but we've already got John Lewis. If Dixondockgreencurrywhorehouseworld moved into that space, they'd be fighting for the same business as JL, and they'd fail - because no matter what they do, it takes years to make a reputation, so anybody wanting service would still avoid them. If you want keener prices and good service, that niche is also fairly well occupied by Richer Sounds.

      Short of scantily clad and very attractive staff, there's nothing that Dixons+ can do that isn't already being done perfectly well. And even if they sacked the current workforce and hired staff to drool over, they'd have plenty of droolers (like me) but few actually handing over cash for electrical and electronic goods. Of course, with ludicrously high and poorly structured business rates, it is only a matter of time before there are no shops on any high street. Debenhams will probably be the next big name to announce the closure of stores, but Dixons+ will eventually need to close more.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: cable

      A problem frequently encountered by people who have rang me for support was that they didn't buy that cable (USB). They'd go to Dixons/Currys, buy a printer (No thanks I've got a cable already), take it home and it didn't work. Have known of customers actually take printers back as "dead on arrival" and the replacement didn't work either. Many times the solution was simply to take a higher spec USB cable along with me to fire it into action. Presumably their sales staff are not properly explaining the technicalities of why a new cable might work in a convincing enough manner.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making money from ignorance

      I see people saying that the staff at currys are all on commission getting posted around on here a lot. And the assumption that it's greed motivating them.

      Thing is staff at currys and Pc World haven't gotten commission in over a decade they are pushed by management to score dozens of kpi's and have their jobs threatened if they don't attach overpriced cables and cover agreements to everything.

      Add in that they are all on minimum wage and catch lots of abuse from customers and management they aren't generally motivated to go beyond basic training on what they are selling contributing to the lack of product knowledge of a lot of the sales staff.

      I know a fair number of currys sales staff and they generally don't like how they are forced to sell but it's that or the jobcentre and there aren't exactly many other stores they could work for.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why don't they (...) die at last?!

    I mean, it's not like they actually carry a decent selection, so that I can go and actually SEE / TRY something, before I buy (this has become a real f... problem over the last 10 - 20 years where you can't practically see / try anything other than the "flagship" and "top sellers" in any brick and mortar shop across the whole of Europe.

    Dixons rightly deserve to have disappeared long before Quicksave, Maplin, long before... Mothercare!

    ...

    oh, I see, well, never mind mothercare!

    ...

    that said, I DO remember the golden age... when I came to the land of Angles for the first time, and, having just purchased my first ever, horribly expensive, proper Sony walkman on the continent, I just discovered, to my jutter dismay, that the Sony (SONY!!!) earphones.. kind of failed. Then, the English locals I came across in the broad countryside of Suffolk, took me to their bosom and, consequently, to the local Dixons shoppe where my faith in capitalism and its fabled customer service was temporarily restored, as the local Dixons manager replaced (with some reluctance and resignation at having to participate in this farce) those faulty earphones with a brand-new pair (and they failed pretty soon, but hey). Those were the days! But now... now BREXIT!!!!

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: why don't they (...) die at last?!

      I've looked very carefully and am completely unable to spot whatever point it is that you're making.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: why don't they (...) die at last?!

        I've looked very carefully and am completely unable to spot whatever point it is that you're making.

        Me neither but I thought it was pretty well made all the same

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: why don't they (...) die at last?!

        a rant allright, pretty standard, I'd say.

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    lack of imagination

    "noted that larger products increased the cost of home delivery and had less opportunity for add-on services"

    Dross - plenty of scope for extra cash on big stuff e.g. washing machines

    1. Charge to take old one away

    2. Charge to remove packaging (lots of cardboard, polystyrene junk on white goods packaging - with many people on 2 week bin empty cycles then worth a punt as bins often get very full)

    3. Charge to fit it (lots of folk scared of fiddling with their plumbing (fnaar, fnaar))

    4. If none of above then maybe a delivery charge /charge for a specific time slot

    5. The usual insurance hard sell

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lack of imagination

      Dross - plenty of scope for extra cash on big stuff e.g. washing machines

      All of which they already offer bar item 2. Rather worrying and yet unsurprising that the "new" boss doesn't have a f***ing clue what his own business is flogging, nor the extent to which they have "value add" options in place. Either that, or he is intentionally talking tripe to investors to justify poor performance.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It shouldn't be long before Cisco get in touch to say that what they really need is in-store tracking and the sending of more targeted communications - all for a better customer experience, of course.

  12. depicus

    Not surprised and maybe the new CEO could start with teaching his staff manners and how not to break the law. I'll be happy when they are filing for administration.

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