Collins says retailer must move towards specialist sector to survive supermarket onslaught

Tech Guys to expand into Europe

DSGi’s chairman Sir John Collins has announced that the retailer will be rolling out its Tech Guys service across Europe.

Speaking at the Retail Week Conference yesterday, Collins said: "Tech Guys is an important part of our business. We still need to do some polishing of the offer here, but are about to start rolling it out in Europe."

He also said that the company must move towards becoming a specialist, rather than sitting in what he described as "no-man’s land."

"Business as usual won’t wash anymore – you are either specialist or generalist. In these tough times, there is no future in no-man’s land," he said addressing listeners.

"I have the greatest respect for the hypermarkets. They can create efficiencies very quickly. They will continue to have a place for selling electronics competitively, but they cannot reach the service levels of the specialists.

"We will be well and truly tested by Tesco, but if we can commit to our template, we will be fine."

Citing the example of Best Buy and Walmart, Collins said the specialist had managed to hold off the world’s largest supermarket by focusing on its service. "Specialists need to keep the barriers to entry high by shoring up their offerings."

Addressing criticism of his staff, Collins said his company recognised that his company had made mistakes in the past and developed a reputation of poorly motivated and unknowledgeable staff, but that the firm had restructured its training department to improve the ability of its staff to understand its products and communicate clearly with customers.

Referring to the future of the company, he said that he wants the group to become the "master of multichannel," adding: "I disagree that e-tail is calling the death knells of the High Street."

Online currently accounts for around 10 to 12 per cent of the retailer’s sales; however, Collins said he expects that to increase to 30 per cent over the next ten to 15 years.

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