Dixons is to expand its fledgling computer games chain @Jakarta after the sector proved to be one of the few retail success stories of a dire Christmas period.
The company, which announces its holiday trading results this week, will open three more specialist @Jakarta outlets before the end of the financial year in April.
The three 2,500-3,000 sq ft stores will open in Leeds, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol and the new Bluewater retail development in east London, and sell games, PC software and accessories.
The move will give the @Jakarta chain five outlets following the launch of two trial stores at the Thurrock Lakeside shopping centre and in Brighton, on November 22 and December 4 respectively.
Dixons says it will put more resources into the @Jakarta Website. Online sales are expected to develop, alongside the current mix of news, reviews, competitions and features.
The investment follows a strong performance in the computer sector amid gloomy trading results elsewhere on the high street.
Electronics Boutique, another specialist computer games retailer, also reported buoyant trading figures, with sales up 11 per cent compared with December 1997.
Industry body the British Retail Consortium said this week that, apart from computers, toys, books, and mobile phones, Christmas sales mirrored the “blood bath” predicted by Marks & Spencer chairman Richard Greenbury last November.
Sales in the computer sector have been boosted by cut-price PCs and the launch of games such as Fifa ’99, Tomb Raider III and The Legend of Zelda.