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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 18-Oct-06


Wednesday 18-October-06

Brand suicide

There's a chain of stores across Britain that sells electronic goods and has been developing well over many years. It includes the High Street stores Dixon's, an ubiquitous supplier of consumer electronics, and Currys, known mostly for white goods (fridges, washing machines and the like). In recent years they have added The Link (mobile cell phones) and the out-of-town PC World (computers).

All brands are very well-established and reasonably well respected.

So I was rather surprised when Dixon's announced that they were changing their name to ''. What idiot, I wondered, sanctioned rebranding a High Street store selling computers and televisions to one known for washing machines and refrigerators? Even the customer base is very different. Without being sexist, I would guess that Dixon's had significantly more male customers than Currys -- in spite of the new man and liberated woman, boys still like their electronic toys and many women still hold sway in the kitchen. And this bias spills over into shopping habits and the influence of brands.

Currys had already been murkying the waters by selling computers and the like, particularly in their out-of-town superstores, which are often near a PC World selling exactly the same goods.

And now what is next? An easy rationalization would be to merge further and close stores -- and this may be pre-empted if customers abandon the brand. The only lifeline is that the chain is the gorilla in the High Street for consumer electronics, yet when internet sales are on the rise, massive brand change would still seem to be a foolhardy move.

Is it actual suicide? Whilst a quick death is not likely, a long slide is likely, I would say, which may even give space for a crafty interloper.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect I'm right. Only time will tell.


Coda: I bought a TV from Curry's last weekend (so maybe there's hope for them yet). I asked the sales guy about the name change and he said that it was because they wanted to use 'Dixons' as an online brand that was not tied to bricks-and-mortar store prices. Hmm. I wonder if the consumers will fall for it...

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