A shopping trip to Dixons used to conjure images of chunky Walkmans, Henry vacuum cleaners and endless aisles of unappealing white goods.
But for the company behind Currys and PC World, it isn't such mainstays that are filling the tills in a time of austerity and penny-pinching – it's the diamond encrusted BlackBerrys and £600,000 televisions.
Dixons Retail, the UK's leading electrical retailer, has smashed growth forecasts for the past three months, bucking a trend of gloom on the high street that has seen its competitors Comet and BestBuy struggle.
Central to its success have been jaw-dropping sales at a new branch, which just happens to be in London's high-end department store Harrods.
Harrods Home & Technology, which is managed by Dixons, opened on March 22 and while the high-street retailer prides itself on its reputation for low-priced electronics, it appears that the Knightsbridge branch did not get the memo.
Among the items on sale are a £695 pair of fluffy headphones, a diamond-encrusted BlackBerry worth £2,500 and an 11ft-tall iPad stand designed by composer Jean Michel Jarre at £330,000.
Harrods spokesman Adam Crudgington admits that the department is not a typical retail outlet. "Dixons manage the space and the staff," he said,".but the salespeople are trained by Harrods in customer service."
Dixons Retail posted an 8 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland in the 16 weeks to April 28, thanks to "stonking" sales of the new iPad device and a strikingly successful launch for the Harrods concession store.
Sebastian James, who became Dixons chief executive in February, said that 2 per cent of customers accounted for half of the revenue from the Knightsbridge store. Dixons manages 1,200 stores in 13 countries, among them 528 Currys and PC World outlets in the UK.
The most expensive item for sale – a 152in 3D Panasonic television – is only available to view by appointment. Interested parties are whisked to Pinewood Studios in a limousine to consider their purchase. At £600,000, it is five times bigger and 2,400 times more expensive than Dixons' most popular television set.
Hi-tech and high-end gadgets for the super-rich
£695: Headphones by Oscar de la Renta
For those with more money than fashion sense, purple, furry headphones by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and produced by Dr Dre's electronics company Beats, are a bargain at £695. The label promises that the headphones will "reproduce the full spectrum of sound that musical artists hear in professional recording studios".
£600,000: 152in Panasonic television
This Panasonic television weighs 600kg and has four times as many pixels as a conventional high-definition TV. Costing £600,000, the cutting-edge technology creates a separate 3D image in high-definition for each eye. Dixons' most popular television, a Samsung 32in, retails for a measly £249.
£330,000: The AeroDream One
An anonymous shopper made what is likely to be the biggest single purchase at a Dixons store in history, spending £330,000 on a 10,000W iPad deck. Designed by composer Jean Michel Jarre, the gadget stands at 11ft tall and comes complete with a handy ladder.
£25,000: Hasselblad Ferrari edition
Only 500 of these Ferrari-branded cameras exist. Retailing at just under £25,000, the Ferrari badge alone puts the price up by £4,000-£5,000. The 35-megapixel camera, made by Hasselblad, can produce ultra-high-resolution family snaps blown up to the size of street adverts – presumably to complement the giant TVs of the insufferably vain and wealthy.Reuse content