Currys is a British electrical retailer operating in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, owned by Dixons Carphone. It specialises in selling home electronics and household appliances, with 295 superstores and 73 high street shops. Smaller shops also trade under the Currys Digital brand in the United Kingdom, which was introduced to rebrand all former Dixons shops in April 2006.
Dixons shops in Ireland followed in August 2008, without the Digital suffix. Many of its physical shops in the United Kingdom now trade under the combined Currys PC World brand.
Currys was founded in 1884 by Henry Curry (born in Leicester in 1850), when he started to build bicycles full time at 40 Painter Street, Leicester, England. He opened his first shop in 1888, at 271 Belgrave Gate, Leicester. In 1890, he moved to larger premises at 296 Belgrave Gate, then in 1900 to 285–287 Belgrave Gate. There was an unrecorded fire in one of the stores in 1891.
The company was put on a proper financial footing in 1897, when Curry formed a partnership with his sons, calling the company H. Curry & Sons. The business continued to grow and floated on the stock exchange in 1927. By this time the shops sold a wide variety of goods including bicycles, toys, radios and gramophones. Currys pulled out of cycle manufacturing in 1932, when they closed their Leicester factory, but continued to retail bikes (badged as Currys) until the 1960s. Meanwhile, particularly under the directorship of family member Dennis Curry between 1967 and 1984, Currys underwent considerable expansion becoming a major high street supplier of televisions and whitegoods (refrigerators, washing machines and other domestic appliances); by 1984 Currys Group PLC (Currys) was a chain of 570 shops, twice as many as the company which was then to acquire it.
Takeover by Dixons
Currys was taken over by Dixons (now Dixons Carphone, owners of the Dixons electrical products retail chain) in 1984, but maintained its separate brand identity. In April 2006, DSG announced that its Dixons shops (except in Ireland and in duty free areas in airports) would be rebranded as Currys.digital, making a total of 550 Currys shops in all. However, in August 2008, the Dixons shops in Ireland were rebranded as Currys, similar to the move in the United Kingdom, but without the ".digital" suffix and with a new Currys logo.
Before the Dixons rebranding, the chain contained only a few small town centre shops compared with its much greater number of large out of town superstores. These shops are generally split into four main departments; computing, home entertainment, major domestic appliances and small domestic appliances. The shops are a mix of display products and self-service sections.On 17 January 2007, group chief executive John Clare announced that when the leases on the remaining 'Currys High Street' shops (not the rebranded Currys.digital shops) expired, it would be unlikely that they would be renewed: thus the shops will be closed at the earliest opportunity.
PC World combination
Dixons Retail began a trial combining Currys and PC World shops in January 2015, and in August declared it to be a success. A number of shops have since been combined, with their shop formats merged into one. In some cases, this has also involved the physical knocking together of some shops which were adjacently located. All advertising for the electronics side of both chains has now been merged.
During the Dixons Carphone Christmas 2015 to 2016 results update to shareholders; Sebastian James, group chief executive for Dixons Carphone, revealed that over the following financial year the 3 in 1 store format (stores featuring Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse branding under one roof) would be rolled out across the company's entire portfolio on the United Kingdom and Ireland.The programme is expected to generate around £20 million of incremental annual earnings, due to recurring costs savings as a result of removing property from the portfolio.
In December 2011, Currys opened a new high end concept shop named "Black". The new shop stocks high end ranges and is laid out in a more fashionable way including mannequins and 'collection' displays. The new branding and layout aims to attract more female shoppers, who research shows feel alienated in the larger shops.