Retailers & Distributors

Apple Opens Basel Store With Edinburgh Teaser

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Apple opens a fourth Store in Switzerland at 47 Freie Strasse Basel, a famous shopping street replete with high-end stores and restaurants. 

Apple Store BaselThe other 3 Swiss Apple Stores are in Geneva, Zurich and Wallisellen. 

The new Basel outlet fills 3 floors across 900 square metros, and features the new interior visual design replacing the signature white-background product shots with colourful visuals pulled from the most recent Apple TV and online ad campaigns. 

According to the reaction on Twitter the new store attracted an enthusiastic crowd, and attendees got commemorative shirts in celebration. 

Interestingly Apple used the Basel store opening to tease the debut of another European store-- one in Edinburgh's historic Princes Street. Apple only says the new store is "coming soon," but rumors suggest the grand opening takes place on either 26 July or 2 August. 

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Apple Opens 101st European Store

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21 June saw Apple open its 101st European Store at #1 Puerta del Sol, Madrid-- the 11th in the country and possibly the first in the world built on top of a 14th century hospital.

Apple Store Madrid Apple found the remains of the mediaeval Buen Suceso hospital during its refurbishing of the Puerta del Sol site on October 2013, a discovery that caused months-long delays to the to construction.

The hospital was originally demolished together with a church sharing the Buen Suceso name on 1845 to make space for the famous square. The remains now make a striking briefing room in the outlet's basement.

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Dixons, Carphone Warehouse Agree on Merger

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Dixons and Carphone Warehouse reach an agreement on the merger first announced back in February 2014-- a deal bringing together two of the biggest retailers in the UK into a single a company worth around £3.4 billion.

Dixons CPWThis so-called "merger of equals" creates "Dixons Carphone", a mega-retailer with 3000 stores (across Currys, PC World and CPW outlets) and combined sales of nearly £11 billion. Each retailer owns 50% of the combined entity, and as a result every Dixons store will start housing a CPW outlet.

As for leadership, CPW chairman Sir Charles Dunstone chairs a 14-strong Dixons Carphone board, with Dixons CEO Sebastian James as CEO and CPW CEO Andrew Harrison as deputy CEO.

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Digital Media: Heart of Tesco's Strategy

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In his keynote at The Guardian Changing Media Summit 2014Tesco CEO Philip Clarke defined his vision of digital marketing as the heart of the modern retailer.

Tesco CEO Philip Clarke

Philip Clarke took over as Tesco Group CEO in March 2011. Before this, he was their Asia, Europe & IT Director. Clarke joined the business in 1974 and has held a number of roles in store operations, commercial and marketing.

He runs a team of over 530,000 people in 12 markets dedicated to bringing the best value, choice and service to customers making 75 million shopping trips every week.

In 2009, Tesco opened 100 phone shops in UK and in 2010 their first imternational phone store opened in Slovakia.  Today they run well over 200+ phone stores in their Tesco Extra stores and 50+ pop-up phone stores in the UK. These outlets offer mobile phones and devices, broadband and the latest mobile accessories.

Most recently, Tesco has launched its own tablet, the 7-inch Hudl tablet. The Hudl was, according to Tesco, designed and built from scratch, tailored to customer needs and ease of use. 

"You might think this is an unusual platform for the CEO of a supermarket chain," said the CEO in addressing The Guardian conference. "After all, we're retailers, not a media company. In fact Tesco is the largest retailer in the UK and the second largest in the world."

He continues..."But I'm going to use the next 20 minutes or so to tell you why our industries are facing pretty similar challenges, and why digital media is absolutely at the heart of my strategy to create the leading multichannel retailer for the future...."

Go CEO Clarke Explains Tesco's Digital Strategy

Amazon Threatens Distribution

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Amazon has proved itself a significant etailer in major markets across the world, and technology, including mobile accessories, is increasingly a strong category for the company. However recent moves into the wholesale business in the US through its Amazon Supply arm, highlighted by an in-depth Forbes article, suggest a much more disruptive move by the giant.

Amazon has proved a lucrative channel for accessory vendors, distributors and resellers in the countries it addresses in Europe. These are currently the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Vendors and distributors have have often been successful with Amazon themselves, while resellers have been able to extend their reach through the Amazon Marketplace. In all cases, understanding how Amazon operates, and working wisely within these frameworks, has been the best recipe for success.

Amazon Supply

The Forbes article highlights Amazon Supply as the unsung initiative that could threaten wholesalers and distributors in every category Amazon covers. Amazon Supply leverages the company’s scale, logistical excellence, and low margin business model to offer access to much of its catalogue at wholesale pricing.

Vendors and distributors in the US are already starting to review their relationships with Amazon. For many distributors, the company is a good customer, while vendors have longstanding distributor partnerships to consider. The potential for conflicts of interest are significant, and how much these are a concern to Amazon remains to be seen.

Amazon Supply has not launched in Europe yet, but is an initiative worth tracking, in particular by distributors. A good time to review the fine print in those Amazon agreements perhaps.

Go Forbes on Amazon Supply

Go Amazon Supply

Go Amazon Services Europe