Assessing the Comet brand

Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, MarketingWeek.co.uk looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars.

Brand**
Comet moved from the Kingfisher Group to Kesa Electricals in 2003 and has 248 stores in the UK.
The Comet brand represents value, convenience and choice. However, the service – as with most electrical retailers – leaves much to be desired.

Experience**
Comet’s basic approach to merchandise display, with lots of product, low quality fittings and restricted customer circulation space is in line with the no frills EDLP positioning. But it is still difficult to browse products, and there is little help for the uninitiated. If you know what you want, do not need assistance, and just want your product at a low high street price then the experience is good. If you want advice and help then the experience depends on who serves you.

Product***
The big box format of Comet means that a wide choice of both white and brown goods is offered with the latest products. All the major brands are represented but better information is required at point of sale due to the lack of good product knowledge of many staff. Very simple initiatives like staff picks, featured products, lists of the pros and cons of various formats could all be useful.

Value Positioning***
Comet and Currys will often price match, but as with many products it is cheaper to go online. This may be at Comet’s own website, The Co-op’s site or online retailers like Amazon. Electricals have always had wafer-thin margins, which means that the value at Comet is usually very good.

Recommendations
1. Continue store upgrade programme to enhance store layouts and display areas.
2. Provide more information and reviews on products to help customers self select.
3. Prepare for the possibility of increasing entertainment and interaction in stores.
4. Start to introduce best practice Kesa’s excellent French electrical retailer, Darty.

Overall Rating**
www.pragmauk.com

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