DSG International (retailer): Wikis


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DSG International plc
Type Public (LSE: DSGI)
Founded 1937
Headquarters Hemel Hempstead, UK
Key people Lord Kalms of Edgware (President)

John Allan (Chairman)

John Browett (Group Chief Executive)
Industry Retail
Products Brown goods
White goods
Information Technology
Consumer Electronics
Revenue £8,545.9 million (2008)
Operating income £(199.3) million (2008)
Net income £(259.7) million (2008)
Employees Circa 40,730 (2008)
Website www.dsgiplc.com

DSG international plc (LSE: DSGI) (Dixons Store Group) is one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in Europe. The company operates the Dixons, Dixons Travel, Currys, Currys.digital, PC World and Electro World stores along with many other brands across Europe including: Pixmania, Equanet and Advent Computers.

The company, formerly known as Dixons Stores Group plc, specializes in selling high technology consumer electronics products, audio-video equipment, PCs, small and large domestic appliances, photographic equipment, communication products and related financial and after sales services (e.g. extended service agreements). They also sell other products and services such as electrical products, spares, repairs, mobile services, online digital photo processing, pre-recorded media and childcare equipment.

Dixons' main competitor is Kesa Electricals plc, which owns Comet and Darty. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



Early years

Dixons was founded by Charles Kalms and Michael Mindel in 1937 in the High Street in Southend under the name of Dixons Studios Limited.[1] The name Dixons, selected randomly from the telephone directory, was sufficiently short to fit above the small shop front.[1] During the early 1940s Dixons set up seven studios around London but by the end of the War the business was reduced to a single studio in Edgware.[1]Stanley Kalms, the son of the founder, joined the business in 1948 and started advertising the Dixons products in the press.[1]

In 1950 the company started selling cameras and in 1957 opened a new head office and buying centre in Edgware to accommodate the staff dealing with 60,000 mail order customers and to provide administrative back-up for its six stores.[2]

Dixons was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1962 changing its name at that time to Dixons Photographic Limited.[3] It bought out competitors, Ascotts, in 1962 and Bennetts, in 1964.[3] In 1967 Dixons bought an 85,000 sq ft (7,900 m2) colour processing laboratory in Stevenage.[3]

Charles Kalms was succeeded by his son Stanley in 1971.[4] In 1972 Dixons acquired another competitor, Wallace Heaton, and in 1974 it opened its Stevenage distribution centre.[4]

In 1982 Dixons introduced its own Saisho brand range of electronic goods.[5] In 1984 it bought Currys, a white goods retailer, and Mastercare, a nationwide electrical appliance service organisation.[5] In 1986 it bought the dry-cleaners Sketchley and the Supasnaps chain of photo shops. In 1987 it bought Silo, at that time the United States' third largest electrical retailer, and in 1988 Wigfalls, a Midlands-based retailer.[5]


In 1993 Dixons bought Vision Technology Group (VTG), operating under the PC World brand at Croydon, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Brentford and Staples Corner.[6] Later that year the company sold VTG's mail order division, Dixons US Holdings Inc and Supasnaps.[6]

It opened its first Tax Free store at Heathrow Terminal 3 in 1994 and then later that year launched The Link, the company's first venture into communications. The Head office was moved to Hemel Hempstead.[6]

In 1996 DSG bought DN Computer Services, a computer reseller business.[6]. It also acquired the retail assets of Harry Moore Ltd, an Irish electrical retailer.[6]

Cellnet bought a 40% stake in The Link in 1997. Also that year the Dixons website was launched.[6]

In 1998 Freeserve, a free internet service, was launched: it was later sold to France Telecom and renamed Wanadoo.[6]

DSG bought Elkjøp ASA, a leading Nordic retailer, in 1999.[7]


In 2002 DSG bought UniEuro, a leading Italian-based electrical retailer,[8], and Genesis Communications, a mobile phone service provider.[9] DSG opened its first Electro World store in Hungary.[10]

Further expansion came in 2005 when DSG bought an interest in Eldorado Group, the largest electrical retailer in Russia and Ukraine, with an option to buy the rest by 2011 at a fixed price of $1.9 billion USD (£1 billion GBP).[11] In 2006 DSG was awarded The Queen's Award for Enterprise[9]. The company announced that the Dixons brand would continue purely online and that all high-street stores will be rebranded Currys.digital.[9] Dixons also bought 75% of Fotovista, a French photographic business.[12]

In January 2008 DSG announced that it would stop selling analogue TVs. Only Integrated Digital Televisions would be sold, in an effort to get consumers ready for the digital switchover.[13] However, dispite claiming they stopped selling analogue TVs, customers were able to purchase analogue TVs until September 2008 when current stock was cleared. In many cases, customers were sold a digital set top box when they purchased an analogue TV. In May, Dixons announced[14] that it would close 77 of its 177 UK Currys.digital shops as their building leases expire over the next five years.[15] The reduction reflected the news that US Electrical rival Best Buy was seeking to establish itself within the UK.[16]

In December 2008 DSG made 600 field engineers redundant [17][18][19] 250 found alternative positions within the company and 350 did not. PC World stores reported holding huge amounts of unrepaired LCD and plasma screens which were preventing store profitability because of time-to-fix guarantees.[20] Staff claimed tech-guy redundancies to be much higher than the official DSG press releases report.[21] DSG also hit back at claims they are playing Scrooge for classing Christmas Day as a normal working day.[22]

In January 2009 PC World Store Managers posted private internal memos on the message boards of pocket-lint.co.uk revealing "...backlogs, shortages, management gaps...", a pressure to reduce full-time staff and B2B service closures following a huge overspend on store refurbishments [23][24] and referred customers to outside companies.[25]. On Monday 12 January all shopping websites were closed for around 24 hours causing concerns to the DSGi management.[26][27] Following the mountain of problems that had been rumoured on websites and in other media, the managing directors of Currys and The Tech Guys both left the company— before poor trading announcements[28][29] Financial pressures hit DSGi and Computer Weekly rated the business as risky.[30] Trading updates on 15 January 2009 showed sales were overall down 10%.[31] In February DSGi trialled a Currys and PC World store merger. The two retailers owned by DSGi never merged stores to prevent opposition from Best Buy snapping up spare units. But since the credit crunch had opened up a wave of spare out-of-town units left by MFI, Woolworths and others, it could seem impractical to hold onto units next door to each other.[32] Branch Managers complained of very little staff left in the stores following the targeted 95 million pounds of savings ordered by John Browett.[33] The recent axe thrown at the service side of the company was reflected in a recent customer survey when the DSGi group took the bottom 3 positions for customer service,[34] despite spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the "FIVES" training program, which has also raised much controversy over whether it is designed around raising profit margins rather than actually providing better customer service, as John Browett claims.

PC Retail magazine reported that "stock shortages at DSGi group will now pave the way for turmoil and fuel the collapse rumours".[35] Credit insurers have dramatically reduced credit. In March 2009 the credit insurer Euler Hermes rapidly slashed cover, with DSGi being the worst hit. DSGi still continued to play down the problems.[36]

DSGi brand Equanet, part of the group that owns Currys and PCWorld, has failed to make the second round of the tender stage for a £6bn public sector framework agreement due to a lack of business growth over the last 36 months. Equanet is the third largest supplier on the current agreement and has seen a sales decline and it's in-house engineering teams dispand in favour of contracting staffing arrangements. [37]


The company's structure is detailed below.[38]

Electricals Division


Advent is a computer brand operated by DSGi and makes electrical appliances such as notebooks and desktop PCs.

Currys Megastore

The biggest electrical retailer is now opening megastores for more of a massive range of products from the smallest items to the biggest. The Biggest Currys Megastore is in West Thurrock - Currys Megastore - Lakeside Retail Park, West Thurrock, Grays, Essex RM20 1WN. Which consists of two floors with rented floor space to other companies, such as Blackberry, apple and tomtom. It is said to be the Biggest store owned by DSGi.



Currys is the UK's largest electrical retailer. It also has stores in the Republic of Ireland. The company's primary market is white and brown goods, but also sells small appliances, personal computers and mobile phones. Currys specialises in home electronics and household appliances. Currys is known for slogan "Currys, No Worries", but is now replaced by "We Can Help". Currys Sponsors The Simpsons on Sky1 from 2009-present.


Currys digital logo.png

Currys.digital is the rebranded name for Dixons retail outlets in the UK (excluding Ireland and the Dixons Travel stores operating in UK airports). Currys.digital is branded as a specialist division of Currys aimed at technology-focused consumers with a product range including cameras, personal computers, audio and video equipment.

Dixons Travel

Operating only in UK and Italian Airport Departure lounges, Dixons Travel is an electrical chain specialising not only in electrical goods but also travel goods as well.

DSG Ireland


DSG Ireland has stores in major cities of the Republic of Ireland. DSG Ireland announced that they will not adopt the new Currys.digital branding for high-street stores, instead retaining the traditional Dixons branding, with Currys being used exclusively for large-format superstores. This decision was later reversed, and all Dixons stores have been rebranded to Currys, except the one in the Jervis Shopping Centre, which became a PC World.

Electro World

Electro World is DSG's chain of electrical superstores in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Poland. In Hungary the first 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) hyperstore opened in Budaörs, a town in the Budapest metropolitan area, in 2002. In the Czech Republic the first Electro World store opened in Praha Zlicin in 2002. In Poland the first Electro World store was opened in October 2005 at the Targowek commercial centre in Warsaw.

More stores have since opened in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Electro World operates a Central Europe distribution centre just outside Brno in the Czech Republic. The 28,000 square feet (2,600 m2) warehouse is the largest warehouse for non-food goods in that country.

In 2009 DSGi has withdrawn from Hungary and Poland selling all their ElectroWorld outlets.


Partmaster is a specialist retailer of spares, consumables and accessories for brown and white goods with over 21 years experience in retailing electrical products. It stocks over 1 million lines.

Κωτσοβολος (Kotsovolos)

Kotsovolos is an electrical retailer in Greece. Since September 2009 it also operates PC City as a Store-in-store franchise. As of 2009 PC City exist only in Greece (Athens) and they operate inside Kotsovolos stores.


Elgiganten ("Electronics Giant") operates stores across Sweden, Denmark and the Faroe Islands selling white goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.



Elkjøp ("Electronics Purchase") operates smaller, medium, big and XXL sized retail stores across Norway selling white goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.


Gigantti ("Gigant") operates retail stores across Finland selling white goods, brown goods, consumer electronics, personal computers, communications products and related services.

Lefdal Lavpris

Lefdal Lavpris operates larger retail stores across Norway selling white goods, brown goods, consumer electronics, Personal Computers, communications products and related services.


UniEuro operates stores mostly in the north west and north east of Italy. The stores sell a mixture of high technology consumer electronics, personal computers, domestic appliances, photographic equipment, communication products and related services.

DSG Insurance Services

DSG Insurance Services issues insurance companies with gift cards with which their customers can purchase replacement goods covered under insurance agreements.

DSGI Sourcing

DSGI Sourcing provides a sourcing service for key customers.

Computer Division

PC World

PC World.png

PC World is a specialist chain of computer superstores.

PC City

PC City exists in continental Europe as an extension of the PC World chain. Beginning with the acquisition of Ei System in Spain, the company has expanded over the years and now has a presence in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece and Sweden (website only).

DSGI Business

DSGI Business is a specialist provider of IT solutions to business and the public sector. The main operation is based in Bury, near Manchester. It operates under the PC World Business. Macwarehouse and Equanet brands, offering dedicated business account managers and highly-qualified technical experts to provide, manage and maintain business IT systems. The company has specialist PC World Business Business Centres in each of more than PC World stores across the country, offering immediate access to products. PC World Business sponsors the Daily Telegraph Business Club pages.

DSG Business Services

DSG Business Services sells goods to major customers and provides an account management system for them.


Genesis Communications is the UK's largest independent mobile service provider, operating in the business to business sector. It has partnerships with the UK's major mobile networks and offers a full wireless service, including hardware, customer account management and billing. Genesis is also the UK's leading supplier of wireless data services to the SME market, including 3G and Blackberry solutions.

New Businesses Division


Pixmania is a pan-European e-commerce retailer. It is present in 26 countries and boasts 6 million clients in Europe. Besides the possibility to shop online the clients can shop and pick up their products directly from Pixmania showrooms (Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Rennes, Brussels, Milan, Torino, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Porto).

Other businesses


[whateverhappens][1] is the rebranded successor of Coverplan. Currys stopped selling Coverplan in 2005, launching whateverhappens as its replacement. The product support is offered on most electrical purchases from Currys and now Currys.digital and PC World.

With over 3 million agreements sold, whateverhappens is the greatest product support in Uk Retail Today


Fotovista is a French photographic business founded as Studio National in 1970 by brothers Pierre and Jean-Claude Rosenblum.

Former business brands and companies

Mastercare Commercial Services offered IT services to IT businesses. A call centre provided telephone and email support, and a team of technicians and engineers provided repairs to PCs and laptops on site, and made inspections for insurance companies. The business was rebranded and merged with The TechGuys in September 2006. From 2008 the majority of all commercial work has been outsourced.

The Link is a UK mobile phone retailer. In June 2006 DSG sold its whole interest to O2. DSG still honours all contracts that exist with The Link but are no longer seeking new business.

Freeserve was purchased by France Télécom, and rebranded as Wanadoo. Wanadoo has since been rebranded again in the UK under the Orange brand.

Freetalk was a failed Voice Over IP (VOIP) business.

Jakarta : For a few years during the late 1990s, DSG operated a chain of computer games shops, called Jakarta. They were in various high-traffic locations (such as Bluewater and Lakeside), but failed to get the market share deemed essential to keep the chain operating. It was closed down during the early 2000s

Financial results

The following table shows the Company's financial results:

DSG International plc financial results
Fiscal Year 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Fiscal Year End Date 03/05/08 28/04/07 29/04/06 30/04/05 01/05/04 03/05/03 27/04/02 28/04/01 29/04/00 01/05/99 02/05/98
Turnover £ 000,000 8,545.9 7,929.7 7,072.0 6,982 6,491 5,750.5 4,888.2 4,688.2 3,889.9 3,156.3 2,791.9
Profit before tax £ 000,000 (192.8) 295.1 302.9 336.8 366.2 278.6 282.3 647.1 * 472.1 * 231.3 213.3
Profit for the period £ 000,000 (259.7) 2.4 211.7 243.1 289.4 207.8 211.2 602.6 413.7 186.2 166.4
Basic eps (p) (14.5) 10.9 11.7 12.6 14.4 10.7 11.0 31.5 22.5 41.1+ 36.9+

*The above trend profits for 2000 and 2001 were primarily attributable
to profits on disposal of Freeserve shares. +Pre stock split.


In the UK, distribution is by two different routes. The Home Delivery Centres (previously known as X-Docks) supply larger items throughout the country. These centres are at Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Thetford ,Newton Aycliffe, Epsom, Erith, Plympton, Southampton and Perivale: they are supplied by two main stock centres (hubs) in Newark on Trent and Bristol. The second route, Customer Distribution Centres, supplies smaller items direct to customers by courier. Distribution to stores also happens via the same two routes.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d History 1930-1949
  2. ^ History 1950-1959
  3. ^ a b c History 1960-1969
  4. ^ a b History 1970-1979
  5. ^ a b c History 1980-1989
  6. ^ a b c d e f g History 1990-1999
  7. ^ Dixons moves into Europe with £440m Norwegian buy
  8. ^ Dixons in £230m UniEuro takeover
  9. ^ a b c History 2000 Onwards
  10. ^ Megastore sets off Electro riot
  11. ^ Dixons looks to Russian Eldorado for growth
  12. ^ DSG snaps up Euro photo etailer
  13. ^ Currys stops selling analogue TVs BBC News January 22nd 2008
  14. ^ "Currys.digital to close 77 stores" BBC News May 15th 2008
  15. ^ "DSGi predicted to close up to 200 stores" Hexus Channel May 12th 2008
  16. ^ "Best Buy may target UK retailers" MarketWatch May 11th 2008
  17. ^ "DSGi downsizes TechGuys" PC Retail magazine 22 Dec 2008
  18. ^ "Field Engineers Redundant" scenta News 22 Dec 2008
  19. ^ "250 Field Engineers Redundant" pocket lint News 22 Dec 2008
  20. ^ "PC World stores full of faulty Stock" pocket lint News 27 Dec 2008
  21. ^ "Staff speak out regarding cuts ''bitter wallet News 27 Dec 2008
  22. ^ "DSGi call centre hits back at Scrooge claims" Nottingham evening Post 22 Dec 2008
  23. ^ "Tech Guys post internal memos online" Bitter Wallet 6 Jan 2009
  24. ^ "PC World Managers Post on Message Board" pocket lint News 2 Jan 2009
  25. ^ "PC World Refer tech guys work" Important Solutions 5 Jan 2009
  26. ^ "Dixons' websites take a day off" PC PRO 12 Jan 2009
  27. ^ "PC World in need of some tech guys" bitterwallet Jan 2009
  28. ^ "Tom Barry leaves DSGi" BitterWallet 14 Jan 2009
  29. ^ "DSGi restructures executive team" Retail Week 13 Jan 2009
  30. ^ "PC World parent company faces increased financial pressure" Computer Weekly 14 Jan 2009
  31. ^ "STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-DSG Int'l down as sales and margins hit" Reuters 15 Jan 2009
  32. ^ "PC World and Currys start to merge stores" pcretailmag 22 Jan 2009
  33. ^ "PC World and Currys to merge stores" bitterwallet 29 Jan 2009
  34. ^ "Bottom for customer service" PC PRO 30 Jan 2009
  35. ^ "Stock shortages expected at the DSGi group" PC Retail 30 Jan 2009
  36. ^ Marcus Leroux (28 March 2009). Retailers fall back on extra discounts to boost trade. London: The Times. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article5989145.ece. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  37. ^ "DSGi out in first round of £6bn public sector tender" computer weekly 14 Oct 2009
  38. ^ Structure

External links


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