From The Beatles to One Direction, a long line of Britain’s biggest musicians seem to have had no trouble taking America by storm. But its best retailers have a more chequered history.
One of the most recent examples, Tesco’s Fresh and Easy, showed that even one of the world’s biggest retailers couldn’t simply march into the US and expect things to work. With that in mind, the management of Dixons Carphone must be pretty brave.
The electronics retailer announced today that it’s launching in the US. It's the first major maneouvre for the company, which was formed by the merger of Currys/PC World owner Dixons Retail and mobile retailer The Carphone Warehouse last year. It’s made the smart move of partnering with Sprint, a massive brand in American telecoms, and appears to be keeping risks to a minimum.
‘In the initial phase, Dixons Carphone will supply mobile phone retail expertise and proprietary knowledge to Sprint who will open approximately 20 retail stores,’ it said in a statement. If those work out okay, the company will invest just $32m (£20.5m) in a 50% stake in a joint venture, which aims to roll out as many as 500 shops in the long-term.
The company's confidence isn't that surprising after it has delivered a series of solid results since merging. Investors look confident too – Dixons Carphone shares were up 3.53% to 475p at the news. The Carphone (Warehouse) side of the company has form in the American Market – in 2009 it helped launched a mobile phone shop for Best Buy, which later bought it out for £1.3bn (£830m).
Not every British retailer has foundered in the US. Recent expansions that seem to be doing pretty well include Jack Wills, which has capitalised on its Britishness, and Topshop. Dixons Carphone won’t crack America as easily as Ed Sheeran did. But by partnering with an existing brand and avoiding committing vast amounts of cash it seems to be off to a decent start.