back to article Dixons Carphone still counting cost of miserly mobile phone sales

Distressed retailer Dixons Carphone – reportedly the object of activist investor Elliot Management's affections – today confirmed a 7 per cent tumble in mobile phone sales over the festive period. In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange this morning, Dixons reported flat sales for the 10 weeks ended 7 January as gains …

  1. Simon Rockman

    It's not Dixon's fault..

    There is currently no must-have need to upgrade. Got an iPhone 7, Galaxy 6? You won't be any better off with an X or 9+. The battery life is no better the phones are no thinner, The camera is incrementally better but the old one was good enough as a phone and will never be as good as a proper camera.

    Couple that with two year contracts and good SIM-only deals and why upgrade? The new generation of folding phones, particularly the new Moto Razr, might change this, but just as DixonsCarphone can't take the blame for the slump it can't take the credit for the recovery.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: It's not Dixon's fault..

      No, it pretty much is their fault.

      Their shops are horribly laid out and their staff are more interested in selling extended warranties than in helping the punter make the right choice.

      And the prices don't help much, either.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: It's not Dixon's fault..

        No experience with Dixon's (in Feraldom not UK) but my observation most retailers who get into trouble is because they did not pay attention to market saturation and the ever changing retail landscape. Compound this with poor customer service and you have a situation were the retailer will be joining many others in graveyard in the not to distant future. Of course, the usual excuses will be trotted out to try blame more competent retailers instead of their own incompetence.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: It's not Dixon's fault..

      Definitely their fault. Staff tend to be compartmentalised to just one area of phone ("I only look after Nokias, mate") and generally end up telling you that something is only available through their online shop.

      Looks to me like DixCar are just waiting for Mike Ashley to buy them up and save them.

      1. Butler1233

        Re: About hashes, pounds and hashtags...

        I wouldn't wish a Mike Ashley buyout on anyone. Have you seen Sports Direct? Or his whinging like a fucking child when he gets called out on his shit.

        I worked for Sports Direct a few years ago. Got a staggering 350quid for 9 months "work"!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not Dixon's fault..

      Shush, thinner is not a plus!

      I'd rather that phones were a little thicker, so that they could contain a longer lasting battery (and be rather less inadvertently bendable).

      1. gv

        Re: It's not Dixon's fault..

        "Shush, thinner is not a plus!"

        I'd quite like my headphone socket back so that I can actually be on a phone call and charge the phone at the same time.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why buy from them anyway?

    Do they offer any better deal than going straight to the network?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Why buy from them anyway?

      For phone+contract, yes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why buy from them anyway?

      "Do they offer any better deal than going straight to the network?"

      You would have thought so, but the savings can be marginal, and the customer service at car"where's my phone?"house was so bad for me that I won't be going back.

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Why buy from them anyway?

      Unless you're hooked on a constant 'upgrade' cycle and depend on expensive credit to support your habit, why would you consider buying a phone from a network provider? The principle rather reminds me of the compulsory rental you used to pay the GPO for the privilege of having a huge ungainly bakelite monstrosity sitting on a hall table ready for the one call a week from a distant elderly relative.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Why buy from them anyway?

        Because you've priced it up and on this ocassion it happens to work out cheaper. Against that, network-locked phones with a network's firmware that will stop getting the manufacturer's upgrades after 12 months. So my last phone did actually end up being from CPW because at the particular time I was buying they had strayed into the Venn diagram's intersection of addressing both items. (That and when I went in to look at the phone I was after the sales assistant showed me his own one. Sometimes you run into exceptions to the rule.)

    4. rich_a

      Re: Why buy from them anyway?

      Much much cheaper as someone who, for his sins, likes O2 but really dislikes the expensive way in which they sell contract handsets (take out a credit agreement for this handset at RRP, take out another credit agreement for a mobile tariff). CPW/mobiles.co.uk O2 upgrades save me a big bundle of cash, easily a couple of hundred quid over a two year contract.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Why buy from them anyway?

        Much much cheaper as someone who, for his sins, likes O2 but really dislikes the expensive way in which they sell contract handsets (take out a credit agreement for this handset at RRP, take out another credit agreement for a mobile tariff).

        After two years the device has been paid off and you only have airtime contract to pay for. Are you getting that with CPW, or are paying the one "convenient" bill forever until you upgrade/cancel?

        Some O2 Refresh contracts, when I last looked couple of years ago, were lower TCO than buying the device outright.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Why buy from them anyway?

          O2 will drop the price automatically for their direct customers, CPW customers have to get the price dropped themselves (i.e. go SIM only).

  3. Fading Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Saturated mature market....

    Need some built in obsolescence to keep this market ticking over - I know how about slowing down older phones with an update or not upgrading the OS so the security conscious user needs to upgrade.....

  4. oiseau Silver badge
    Flame

    Things by their name ...

    Paul Singer?

    Elliott Management?

    Activist investor?

    These utterly despicable scumbags are the scourge of the earth.

    Should be taken to a back shed and shot.

  5. Snarf Junky

    The margins must be so small on most phone packages these days and people have to be either rich or nuts to buy the latest iPhone when it's released. I switch networks every couple of years usually hopping from O2 to EE and back again to get the best deal. Last time EE offered me a Galaxy S8 a few weeks after it was launched with a decent data package for less than the cost of the of the handset SIM free. I'll probably do the same in a few month's time.

  6. djstardust Silver badge

    My friend

    Worked for CPW for about 6 months earlier this year.

    Long and short of it is that he was disciplined for "being too nice to customers" and not offering them the most expensive deal. He also got pulled aside for not lying about the T&Cs on the phone insurance.

    Says it all really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My friend

      It's a fact of life that businesses sometimes go bust and generally sad for both competition and for people's livelihoods.

      But I make an exception for Dixons/Currys/PC World/whatever. I will be glad when they go bust. I know people who were sold PCs way above their needs, unsuitable products and had awful experiences with post-sales service.

      Because in their absence, people will go to John Lewis, Amazon, or maybe Argos. All of which are better options.

      1. djstardust Silver badge

        Re: My friend

        Dixons/Currys/PC World/whatever.

        Freeserve

        The Link

        Mastercare

        Pixmania

        PC World Business

        Dixons Travel

        DSGi Business

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got to hand it to Elliott...

    ...they know how to take a company apart. I should know, I was one of the people taken apart...

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