Martin Dawes axes ‘breathe’ roll-out

Martin Dawes, the telecoms and TV rental company, has shelved plans for a huge roll out of stores because of delays in the launch of digital TV.

Its 1m pilot store, branded “breathe”, opened in Leeds on November 1 1997 (MW October 16). The store is closed for refurbishment and a spokesman for the company says no reopening date is available.

The joint retail venture between mobile phone service provider Martin Dawes Telecommunications and sister company the TV and video rental outfit Martin Dawes Ltd aimed to establish a nationwide network of 30 to 40 “breathe” shops this year.

The pilot store offered telecoms, computing and TV products and services under one roof. Customers receive one bill and are offered installation and training services.

But the one-stop concept has not taken off as quickly as the company had hoped.

The slow development of digital TV, on which the stores were hoping to provide consumer advice, has been blamed.

Consumers warmed to Martin Dawes’ traditional strengths in the mobile phones market but were less willing to use the pilot shop for computer purchases.

A spokesman says the original plan for 40 stores was ambitious: “We are broadly committed to the idea of selling convergent technology. There is no date for a roll out, it depends on consumer acceptance.”

MDT has just launched an Internet provision service, “breathe online”.

The service will be advertised through direct marketing and banners on Websites.

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