Apple has drawn some criticism for appointing Dixons’ current CEO John Browett as its director of retail, but more than anything, the move is a testament to the work Browett has done at the struggling electricals chain.
Apple, which has notoriously high standards and impeccable taste would not be risking the high esteem in which its stores are held, on someone that hadn’t proved himself as a shrewd business operator with a large helping of brand vision.
Yes, the share price of Dixons has fallen dramatically in the years since Browett took charge, but let’s also not forget the horrendous retail conditions that he, and the rest of the sector faced.
In 2007, Browett set out Dixons’ long-term “renewal and transformation” plan, which in essence meant grabbing it by its collar and dragging it upwards. Since then it has improved its stores and its products no end, done some cracking marketing and is overhauling its approach to customer service under the Knowhow programme.
Shares have also picked up again signalling that Dixons is at least making progress.
Browett’s clear vision for the chain have saved Dixons the same fate as bygone high street chains such as Zavvi and Woolworths, but it’s a mammoth operation and big ships turn slowly.
Let’s note that in the same time, Comet – Dixons’ arch rival – has fared much worse against the same economic challenges and has been sold by its owner Kesa for a nominal £2 to save it dragging the rest of the profitable business any further downwards.
The last two years have also seen US chain Best Buy arrive and then depart with its tail between its legs because it just couldn’t make its business work in the difficult UK market.
If you look at all that Browett has achieved at Dixons, a business and brands that were so entrenched in negative perceptions, imagine what he will be able to deliver at Apple, a business and brand already so successful and so loved by consumers the world over.