UK company Dixons Carphone is set to extend its reach into the US with plans for a chain of up to 500 stores after signing a joint venture deal with the US telecoms group Sprint.
The venture comes as the first deal for the UK group since its creation last year through the merger of Dixons, which runs the Currys and PCWorld chains in the UK, and mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse (See: UK retailers, Carphone Warehouse and Dixons in $6-bn merger). Both had had earlier been in the market with varying degrees of success.
Three decades back, an attempt by Dixons to crack the notoriously difficult US market had come a cropper. The company acquired the Silo and Tipton electricals chains in 1987 and went through a period of rapid expansion but ran up millions of dollars in losses before selling out in 1993.
Carphone Warehouse struck up a successful US mobile phone shop venture with US retailer Best Buy but was acquired for £838 million in 2012. The companies also closed 11 Best Buy stores which had been set up in the UK, due to poor sales.
According to Andrew Harrison, deputy group chief executive of Dixons Carphone and head of the group's Connected World Services (CWS) division which would lead the Sprint venture, said, ''We have always maintained an ambition to go back to the US. This, for us, is the start of a number of relationships all around the world,'' The Guardian reported.
Chief executive Sebastian James had already been named the most powerful person in British retailing, and looked set to extend his influence abroad with an initial 20 stores to be opened under the Sprint brand.
A $32-million investment from Dixons Carphone for a 50-per cent stake in the venture would support a further roll out if the stores were successful.
Dixons Carphone was among the FTSE 100's biggest gainers on Thursday morning, with shares registering an over 3 per cent gain in early trading.
Andrew Harrison, head of Dixon Carphone's Connected World Services division, commented, ''This is a very exciting venture for us, and is a significant step in growing our Connected World Services business in the US, cityam.com reported.