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Dixons Carphone plc DC Greece had become the jewel in Dixons international empire with like for like sales up 9% but it looks like that will not last for long unless Dixons management can start getting its act together. Smart phones is its problem. At one of its biggest Kotsovoulos stores in Athens it has had to stop selling smart phones because it has no staff trained and qualified to explain to customers what the terms of the contracts are which it offers with the three main service providers to enable it to give huge discounts on the prices of smart phones. Each model of smart phone has a price label next to it showing the discount and the specific contract which it offers with each provider. The problem is permanent, not temporary and it is that no staff member is allowed to tell customers what the terms of those contracts are because they are untrained and unqualified. Worse still they are trained to lie about the reason.Thus customers are told that a qualified employee from another store will be there from 5pm but it is just a lie. Other more truthful members of staff they will have to go to a store several miles away to find an employee with the necessary qualifications. They even advise customers to go directly to branches of the providers in a distant shopping mall, thus ensuring that Dixons loses the sale permanently. The manager joins in the deceit by claiming that the price labels do not advertise the package offered, they are purely notifications. Often it is the tiny things which expose the failings of management which is not on the ball, in some of our largest companies.
Thomas Cook Group TCG has been forced to admit that it can not compete with UK holidays when the UK enjoys hot summers, as it did this year in June and July. And if one thinks about it, that is not surprising because who wants to go through the trauma of spending part of their annual holiday trapped in a UK airport full of undrinkable coffee and British rail sandwiches, plus overbearing security officers waiting to pounce and perform an intimate body search at the slightest opportunity. What Cooks describes as the “unprecented” hot weather, led to higher levels of discounting and the recent trading performance has been disappointing, with full year operating profit expected to be only 280m. But then Cooks gives the game away by admitting that even bookings for next winter are down by 2% so the problems appear to be more ingrained than just a few weeks of summer sunshine. Dread the thought but could management perhaps be at fault if hot summer weather is followed by winter booking problems.