Technology chain plans assault on the high street

By Marketing Week reporters

Martin Dawes, the telecoms supplier and TV rental company, plans a chain of up to 40 retail outlets across the UK, selling a range of new converged service technologies, including phones and computers, under the brand name “breathe”.

The stores aim to tap the market created by the predicted convergence of technologies. The chain will offer customers a “converged” bill, combining mobile, fixed-wire, Internet or equipment-hire costs.

The Martin Dawes group will launch the first “breathe” store in Leeds on October 30. Costing 1m to build, the 10,000 sq ft outlet will offer a range of goods including PCs, Internet connection, PCTV and fixed-wire phones.

The company is banking on a market of up to 3 million people in the UK, who are thought to want different technologies and communication tools, but need more guidance. Staff will deliver, install, and train home users.

If the pilot succeeds, 40 stores will be opened across the UK, under the “breathe” brand name.

Sales and marketing is spearheaded by former Orange head of channel marketing Sean Gardener, and there are echoes of Orange in the launch campaign.

It uses the image of a blue trapezoid designed by Leeds-based Elmwood, and the words “dream”, “discover” and “live”.

Advertising for the launch will concentrate on local press and radio ads through Leeds agency Brahm, and pavement artists, who will paint the streets with the “breathe” logo.

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