In January, DSGi announced that John Allan would be take over as Chairman from Sir John Collins, at the Group's AGM on 2 September.
At the beginning of the year, it was clear the depth and scale of the global recession was going to make it a hard year for almost every industry. However, on 3 March, the Group provided an update on the progress of its Renewal and Transformation plan. The update incorporated an analyst and media trip to the newly opened Currys Megastore in Birmingham – the first of its kind in the UK. As part of the programme to reinvigorate Currys and PC World as the destinations for electrical products, computing and new technology, a unique new 'Megastore' format had been developed. This first Megastore had opened to huge queues on its opening weekend, with one national newspaper running a front-page headline, "Credit Crunch, What Credit Crunch?" At the update, DSGi confirmed that as at 3 March, 13 Currys Superstores,four CurrysDigital stores, 41 PC World Superstores, one new Currys Megastore and one trial combined Currys and PC World store had already been reformatted. The company reported strong initial trading results for these 'new' stores. The stores and their teams were focused on the key pillars of the Renewal and Transformation Plan, offering an unbeatable combination of Value, Choice and Service to customers. All the transformed stores provide improved layout and signage to ease navigation, as well as offering a wider and better range of products and services.
In March, DSGi announced its Contact centre – at the time operated by Capita - would be brought back in house. The decision was taken because it simplified operations in line with the Renewal and Transformation Plan, and because it allowed the business to take greater ownership of contact with the customer.
Following the announcement of a Placing and Rights Issue in March, the Group received very strong support from its shareholders, and the news was well received by suppliers and other stakeholders. As well as reinforcing the balance sheet and instilling confidence in the business, the Rights Issue provided the resources and flexibility to deliver on the Renewal and Transformation plan at a faster pace.
In May, DSGi announced that it had entered into an agreement for the sale of loss-making Electro World Hungary to EW Electro Retail Ltd ("EWH"). The sale saw the transfer of all 9 stores, operations and employees to EWH.
DSGi continued its store transformation plan across all formats. On 4 June, Currys, opened the doors of a brand new Megastore in New Malden. At 37,555 square feet, the New Malden Currys' Megastore was the retailer's and the UK's second biggest electrical outlet – indeed thebiggest in Greater London – and the south east.
On 23 June, Currys announced that it was to be the brand new sponsor of Sky1's favourite family entertainment show, The Simpsons. The sponsorship marked the start of a new advertising strategy for Currys which sees the brand communicate in a new way with its customers by focusing on its service propositions. The new approach takes a humorous look at everyday problems associated with electricals and offer practical solutions.
The very next day, Currys launched it 'We Can Help' service-led brand advertising campaign. It's the biggest ever, multi-channel campaign in support of the Currys brand and includes TV, billboards, colour press ads and TV sponsorship. The new ads which demonstrate Currys' great range of services in a humorous and memorable way, are the next stage in a long term strategy which aims to communicate that Currys makes using and choosing electricals easy and enjoyable. The shift is away from just price-led messaging towards a focus on customer services.
In August The TechGuys launched a range of 62 enhanced services for customers as well as introducing "Club" and "Premier Club" options for the "Whateverhappens" customer support agreements. Under the "Premier Club" agreement customers experience enhanced levels of service such as faster response times and the loan of a product if theirs has to be taken away for repair.
On 8 September Tim How joined the Group's Board as a non-executive Director.
Currys and PC World opened the doors to its first dual-branded Megastore in Fulham on 15th October. The 2-in-1, 45,000 square foot new Fulham Megastore provides the best of both brands under one roof, making shopping for electricals a much simpler and more enjoyable experience for customers. The new store offers the widest ranges and best selection of electricals from both Currys and PC World ensuring a better shopping experience for customers.
By the time of the company's interim results in November, DSGi confirmed 162 stores had been reformatted in the UK and Nordics and in time for Peak, and confirmed plans to reformat stores across Europe.