Dixons to reshuffle its UK management team

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Dixons Retail, the owner of the Currys and PC World chains, is poised to hire a new head of its UK business early next year, as it battles one of the deepest consumer downturns in living memory. The move will free up John Browett, the chief executive of Dixons Retail, to focus more on the group's strategy after it posted a loss of £224m in 2010-11.

The electricals retailer is likely to choose from internal candidates for the newly created, UK-based job.

Katie Bickerstaffe, group director for marketing, people and property, and Sebastian James, the operations director, are the two internal front-runners for the role. While a job title has not yet been confirmed, one option could be UK managing director of Dixons Retail, which declined to comment.

The expected reshuffle comes at a delicate time in the UK for the group, which also includes the Dixons website.

Its underlying UK and Ireland sales tumbled by 10 per cent in the 12 weeks to 23 July after consumers cut back on buying MP3 players and purchased fewer TVs than during last year's football World Cup.

The new management structure will reflect the existing set-up on the Continent, where Dixons Retail has managing directors of Scandinavia and southern Europe. Previously in the UK, former employees Keith Jones and Peter Keenan held the roles of managing directors of PC World and Currys, respectively. Mr Keenan left to join HSBC in 2009 and Mr Jones joined JJB Sports as its chief executive in 2010.

The UK electricals sector could be set for a major shake-up. Kesa Electricals has put Comet up for sale, while Best Buy is mulling ditching its fledgling UK 11 stores.