British retailers 'to dominate Europe'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two separate reports published today predict that Dixons and Kingfisher are set to become the dominant players in the European electrical goods market.

Dixons, which owns the Currys, PC World and The Link chains, is already the top-ranked company in the Continent by sales. Kingfisher, the Woolworths to B&Q group, trails in fifth place, according to the latest figures released by Retail Intelligence, the specialist research group.

But both RI and Verdict, the retail consultancy, predict that the two groups' strategies of chasing international growth will further strengthen their position and allow them to grab market share from their competitors.

According to RI's report, Electrical Retailing in Europe: "Dixons, with its strong emphasis on new technology, is in the best position ... it has substantial scope to expand its specialist PC chain, PC World, in Europe." Verdict's survey, Verdict on Electricals Retailers in Europe, adds: "Kingfisher is not letting the grass grow under its feet ... It has posted its intention of wresting first place from Dixons."

RI warns that as the leading players, which also include Germany's Media Markt, grow stronger, so the position of smaller companies will weaken. It predicts: "There will be further rationalisation over the next few years. The top three multiples already have 17 per cent of electrical retailers' sales across Europe and they will strengthen their lead through both acquisitions and organic development."

Dixons' moves have so far been restricted to small markets, such as Scandinavia, where it acquired Elkjÿp, and Spain, where it bought Ei System Computer. Kingfisher is well established in France and Benelux, but is considered to lack a larger foothold in Germany, while Media Markt is strong in German-speaking countries and also has a growing business in France and Spain.

RI says that Media Market is vulnerable to a takeover because of the problems of its parent company, Metro. If the business was sold or broken up, Dixons and Kingfisher would both be considered likely buyers.