PC World (retailer)
PC World is a retail chain of mass market computer megastores. Established in November 1991, it became part of Dixons Retail in February 1993, and then part of Dixons Carphone after the merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse in August 2014. Many of its physical shops in the United Kingdom now trade under the combined "Currys PC World" brand, and PC City in Italy when this branch of the brand was still trading. All PC City stores in Italy have now ceased trading.
|Headquarters||Acton, London, United Kingdom|
Number of employees
In November 1991, Vision Technology Group Ltd, led by Jan Murray, opened the first PC World shop in Purley Way, Croydon. In February 1993, when Dixons Group plc (now Dixons Carphone) purchased the chain, there were four PC World shops in existence. There followed a period of expansion, as more shops were opened across the country. Jan Murray attainined an annual turnover of £50 million by April 1992, as he had opened the four largest flagship stores around London.
This expansion was partly driven by a series of acquisitions, beginning with DN Computer Services in November 1996, followed by Byte Computer Superstores Ltd in April 1998, and MicroWarehouse in June 2004.
In September 2006, PC World UK assumed management control of its French subsidiary. In 2006, there were 163 PC World shops in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the United Kingdom, PC World Business was launched in September 1997. Since March 2001, PC World Business has been based in Bury, Greater Manchester, and has its own management team.
In October 2006, PC World launched "The Connected Home", selling PC based home entertainment systems and installation services. During 2007 to 2008, PC World was due to undergo a style change, with a proposed new logo, staff uniforms, shop layouts, as part of its image re branding programme. The changes were trialled at branches in Brentford, Colchester, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Enfield, Burnley and North Shields.
In August 2008, the "proposed" logo was shelved, in favour of a new logo. In December 2008, PC World reported its first ever loss, posting underlying losses of £29.8 million in the six months to October 2008, compared to a £52.4 million profit in 2007.
PC World today
The shops offer ranges of consumer oriented PCs, laptops and peripherals, including DSG shops' own brand Advent and PC Line. Shops also have a "KnowHow desk", which offers advice and services. Some shops also have a "Component Centre" area, which contains more basic PC components such as motherboards, hard drives and cases.
On 13 December 2007, it was announced that PC World would begin selling Dell PCs in their shops. This was one of many moves Dell made to sell their desktops and laptops to a wider market. This also includes Dell selling their XPS systems in many HMV shops across the United Kingdom.
PC World opened their first two in one megastore with Currys at Wandsworth Bridge, Fulham, on 29 October 2009, followed by Merry Hill Shopping Centre (West Midlands), Aintree (Merseyside) Teesside Park (Stockton-on-Tees) and Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen) in June and July 2010.
PC World closed their last remaining standalone shop in Ayr, in the week commencing 26 March 2018, and now exists solely online and as part of the Currys megastores.
In February 2005, PC World attracted criticism, for the strong promotion of extended warranties (also known as insurance and support packages) and in May 2013, if an extended warranty is not purchased, customers are required to use outsourced, local rate telephone support for hardware issues or premium rate telephone lines (£1/minute, except for set up which is 75p/minute) for software issues.
In June 2004, a Which? survey ranked PC World joint last for customer satisfaction. In March 2006, PC World attempted to get away from its reputation for having sales staff on up to 20% commission, who would therefore use high pressure sales tactics with its "One Team" marketing campaign.
The bonus is also based on other non monetary metrics, such as customer satisfaction. To compensate the 275 highest earners under the old scheme for reduced bonuses, their basic pay was raised by 16% from around £11,000 to around £13,000 per year.
In December 2007, in a response to the perception that PC World staff are often young, and lacking in knowledge and communications skills, a set of e learning courses called "The Power of Knowledge" were completed by 6,000 staff. The results were incorporated into their Christmas bonuses, as an incentive for staff to improve their knowledge.
In January 2008, a survey for Which? revealed that PC World was ranked in the bottom ten retailers in the United Kingdom. In June 2014, Which? also reported PC World overcharging for repairs, and lack of technical competence among technicians. This was from seven sampled shops.
In March 2014, an "offensive" PC World logo was visible, if you had typed 'computer superstore' on Google. In June 2014, the BBC's consumer awareness programme Watchdog found that PC World was accused of misselling HDMI cables in 9 out of 15 test purchases, claiming that the more you pay the better the quality, which was a false statement.
In November 1997, Gary Glitter took a laptop into a branch of PC World in Bristol for repair, where child abuse imagery was found by staff, who informed the police and Glitter was subsequently charged and found guilty of possessing child pornography. This conviction severely damaged Glitter's reputation, and effectively ended his career.
In January 2006, after numerous complaints, PC World was forced to remove an advert, that gave misinformation about wireless networking. There have also been countless other complaints over adverts, particularly regarding goods advertised, but not actually available in the shops.
In September 2007, a customer alleged that when he returned a laptop under warranty with a faulty hinge, PC World refused to honour their warranty because he had installed a Linux operating system on the laptop, and therefore had invalidated the warranty he had had on the product, although the fault was a hardware matter and would not have been affected by the operating system installed.
In September 2009, PC World staff were investigated for posting abusive and offensive comments about customers on Facebook.
PC World currently trades only in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It has previously traded in other European countries, but has disposed of these as the parent company refocussed. The European shops traded under the name PC City. In February 2007, the French shops were the first of the Mainland Europe shops to be closed down.
In April 2009, the Swedish shops were closed down, and the online operation then switched to the ElectroWorld brand. 34 shops in Spain also operated under the brand PC City. In April 2011, however, all Spanish shops were closed, as part of Dixons Retail's withdrawal from the Spanish market.
- "UK: Managing Information Technology - Pile 'em high sell 'em cheap AT COMPUTER SUPERSTORES". Management Today. 1 April 1992. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Currys and PC World post first half year loss in 20 years as High Street gloom spreads". Daily Mail. 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- "US". Archived from the original on 4 February 2009.
- "Out-sourced Premium Rate technical support". Pcworld.co.uk. 13 May 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Dan Thomas. "Dixons owner arranges outsourcing Deal". Personneltoday.com. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "PC World ranks joint last in survey". Which.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "PC World move change reputation". Channelregister.co.uk. 24 March 2006. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Staff pay still performance related". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Survey completed by staff
- "US". independent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010.
- "Overpriced Computer Repairs". Which.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Google search for 'PC World' produces embarrassing image result". telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "BBC1 Watchdog Report Into PC World HDMI Cables". BBC Watchdog. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- "Glitter jailed over child porn". BBC News. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Misleading advert removed". Channelregister.co.uk. 17 May 2006. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Advert complaint 1". Channelregister.co.uk. 4 January 2006. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Advert complaint 2". Channelregister.co.uk. 12 April 2006. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- Fiveash, Kelly (13 September 2007). "Returned laptop with hinge problem". Theregister.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Currys and PC World staff to be investigated after abusing customers on Facebook". Daily Telegraph. 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- "Dixons and Carphone Warehouse shares drop on merger". BBC News. 15 May 2014. Archived from the original on 24 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- "PC City blir Electroworld" [PC City becomes Electroworld] (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
PC City blir Electroworld [..] Electroworld har övertagit hanteringen av befintliga kunder till PC City. (Automated translation: "Electro World has come to Sweden! [..] Electro World has taken over the management of existing customers to PC City. ")
- Link to PDF press release