Dixons Carphone PLC (LON:DC.) is changing its name to Currys PLC, a brand that has been around since 1884.
When Dixons took over Currys in 1984, Currys was very much the junior partner. The merger with the quaintly-named Carphone Warehouse in 2014 saw Currys fall to third billing in the group, despite its giant shops in retail parks being instrumental in seeing off Comet, the rival electrical goods retailer, in 2012.
For a while, it even had to share billing with PC World – famed for its advertising slogan, “Why in the world, PC World?” [Are you sure about this? – Ed] but now it has emerged as the dominant brand in the retail group’s rag-bag collection of names.
Dixons? It had a good run on the High Street, starting as a photographic studio in Southend-on-Sea in 1937. There was a strong overlap with Currys in the products it sold, namely cameras, audiovisual kit and various bits of electrical equipment, although Currys was the place to go if you wanted white goods.
If you wanted an extended warranty, however, Dixons was the place. Its spotty Saturday workers did not know much about the products they were selling but they sure knew how to try to sell you a warranty on any product you bought, because that’s where the big profit margins were.
In the end, that reputation for the hard sell did for the brand and it became an online-only affair in 2006.
Carphone Warehouse? Who would have thought when the company was set up in 1989 that of the two parts of its name, “Warehouse” – or “delivery fulfilment centres” as we seem obliged to call them now – would end up being the sexier element?
Anyone who has watched old telly programmes that feature dark ages mobile phones – I think some ads featuring leotard-wearing models on a treadmill holding the proverbial “brick” are still running on late-night TV – would understand why in the early days of mobile phone technology the communications devices were largely used in cars. You needed a vehicle to carry them around, they were so big but at least they never ran out of power.
PC World? Why? Why on earth would you buy from PC World when a gazillion cheaper outlets with broader ranges exist on the internet? Why? The only reason to shop at PC World is if your inkjet has just run out of ink and you need to get a vital document printed before 5.00pm.
So, Currys it is, even though they could have probably sold the rights to the name for a fortune to Uber or Deliveroo.
“Choosing Currys as the 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,” claimed Alex Baldock, the chief executive officer of … er … Dixons Carphone.
Well, certainly more trusted than Dixons, Alex but did it ever sponsor the League Cup, asks a Mr Rumbelow of Neasden.
“Currys will have a bold and up-to-date look and feel, but this is a gearshift, not a facelift. 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 said.