In Germany it was Redcoon for Media-Saturn. In Switzerland it was Digitec for the Migros Group. And since 2006, PIXmania has been playing the same role for British electronics chain Dixons. That is, playing the role of an online sales channel as a hedge for brick-n-mortar empires under siege.
Dixons has become all too familiar with the problems of their competitors such as Media-Saturn and Best Buy. The corporation, to which PC World and Currys also belongs, had to register revenues down to 8.18 billion pounds during fiscal year 2011/12, representing a reduction of 3%. Dixons announced in June the closure of 60 High Street stores as a cost reduction measure.
Similar to its colleagues in Germany and the US, Dixons has a tangible e-commerce deficit. Although the online contribution of the 2010/11 revenues was 842.7 million.pounds (about 10%), 733.7 million of that was from the French online retailer PIXmania, which Dixons has been holding a majority share of since 2006.
The move to take almost 100% of PIXmania is a move to keep Dixons in the online game:
"Dixons Retail PLC today announces it has reached an agreement to acquire the 22% interest in PIXmania S.A.S. currently indirectly held by the founders of the business, Steve and Jean-Emile Rosenblum for €10 million (approximately £8 million) in cash. Dixons already holds a 77% interest in PIXmania."
PIXmania was last known for its troublesome exposure to crisis ridden southern Europe last year, needing to note down a 9% revenue decrease and a loss of 19.8 million pounds. Dixons wants to aggressively concrentrate on a turnaround:
„Pixmania’s trading continues to face strong market headwinds and this move will also allow us to manage the company in line with the group’s wider strategy and take actions necessary to improve its performance,” said Sebastian James, who took over as Dixons’ chief executive in February.
Dixons, which is whittling down its portfolio of UK shops, has high hopes for Pixmania’s online sales platform, and has signed licensing deals with retailers including Carrefour to use its software.”
After Dixons’ initial investment in PIXmania, they have been responsible for Dixons “multi-channel shop” operations. Since 2007, PIXmania has been selling goods from third party providers on pixmania.com. In several south European countries, PIXmania is running 17 flagship stores.
Originally posted in German by Jochen Krisch and Matthias Hell, adapted for excitingcommerce.com by Jason Soo.