What is the future of big box electrical retailers?

 Richard Jenkings
Experian Market Planning

The history of UK consumer electrical retailers is littered with vanished names. Powerhouse and Miller Brothers went into administration in 2006. Before them, Tempo, Radio Rentals, Rumbelows and others all passed into history. The current industry is dominated by a small number of major multiples. The most notable are Comet, DSG (which owns Dixons, Currys.digital and PC World stores), John Lewis and Richer Sounds. Supermarkets have also been on the ascendant, with Tesco overtaking John Lewis in market share during 2006 and Asda also adding more space dedicated to selling electricals (source: Verdict Research). Meanwhile, online sales of electricals by Amazon and others have also grown.

In late 2006 Verdict considered that Comet and Currys stores had almost reached saturation in the UK and were merely in-filling the remaining gaps. But since then Dixons has had a program of closures - mainly for in-town Currys.digital stores - and chosen to focus on its larger, out of town stores and on its online activities. Most recently, Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy have also announced a tie up.

Figure 1: Changes in 2002-07 UK market share in consumer electricals