A level of service shoppers here can only dream of

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The Independent Online
WITH characteristic caution, Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, chairman, and his team at Kingfisher conducted meticulous research into the French electrical market in the early stages of talks with Darty.

They found that French consumers rate customer service and product choice very highly when it comes to buying electrical goods.

They also found that Darty provides a level of service and range of products that is not bettered by any other French electrical retailer and one that must be the envy of UK shoppers.

'Le Contrat de Confiance' Darty signs with its customers commits it to a same-day home repair service, seven days a week, on televisions, video recorders and large kitchen appliances, with free delivery and free loans of televisions and freezers if repairs cannot be made on the spot.

Darty, with sales of pounds 1bn in 1992, has a 12 per cent share of the French electrical goods retailing market, operating from 130 stores. About one third of its selling space is in the Ile de France area, around Paris, where it has a market share of 20 per cent.

Darty is planning to move into the south and south-west of France, opening 40 stores and increasing selling space by 20 per cent. Darty stores are larger than comparable out-of-town Comet outlets, averaging 11,000 square feet each and located in retail parks.

Since Darty management led a Fr7bn ( pounds 875m) buyout in 1988 pre-tax profits have risen at a compound rate of 36 per cent to reach Fr443m in 1992. Despite a depressed electricals market in France, sales have risen by 2 per cent between September and December, indicating further growth in market share.