Dixons Carphone makes fresh bid to crack the US with Sprint deal

 

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The Independent Online

Dixons Carphone has made its first big corporate move since the £3.8bn merger last year. The telecoms and electricals retailer has struck a deal with Sprint, the third-largest mobile phone operator in the US, under which they could open up to 500 stores in America over the next few years.

In an initial trial, the two companies will open about 20 stores in and around Miami and Chicago. If the trial is  successful, the venture will be rolled out across the US, with Dixons Carphone investing $32m (£20m) for a 50 per cent stake.

Andrew Harrison, Dixons Carphone’s deputy chief executive, said: “This is a very exciting venture for us, and is a significant step in growing our Carphone business in the US. We bring specialist knowledge and skills to this partnership and will be looking to deliver innovation and outstanding customer service under the Sprint brand.”

The US venture will be headed by Carphone’s UK boss, Graham Stapleton. The aim is to bring Carphone’s service skills, such as helping people choose the right handsets and tariffs, to Sprint’s near-60 million customers.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s chief executive, said: “We are excited to partner with Dixons Carphone and to leverage all their know-how as one of the world’s leading wireless retailers to benefit Sprint and its customers. We are committed to offering the best customer experience when buying wireless products and services.”

Dixons and Carphone had very different experiences Stateside before they came together. Dixons had a spectacular failure with Silo, a US electricals retailer it bought in 1987 but sold in 1993 after racking up hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

Carphone had two separate relationships with BestBuy. In the first, Carphone ran BestBuy’s mobile outlets in the US, and in the second the US retailer took a 50 per cent stake in Carphone in an attempt to roll out its warehouse model of electrical retailing across Europe.

The first went well but the second was deemed a failure, particularly in the UK. However, Carphone walked away from the two ventures with around £1bn.

Dixons Carphone shares rose 5.7p to 464.5p.

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