Dixons Carphone eyes 500 store US tie-up with Sprint

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Initial pilot will see 20 Sprint-branded stores opened and if successful, a joint venture will be created to support plans to roll out up to 500 stores 

Dixons Carphone has partnered with Sprint in a US in a deal that could see the duo roll out more than 500 stores across the country.

The UK retailer’s Connected World Services (CWS) division will work with the US operator on a pilot programme to build and operate around 20 new Sprint stores over the coming months in select US markets. Sprint will own and staff the stores while CWS will manage them.

If this pilot is successful, both will will progress to a second phase that will see CWS invest up to $32 million to obtain a 50 per cent share in a joint venture to support rollout plans of up to 500 stores.

It said this cash will be used by the business to fund the rollout of the operation, with it also providing support across the whole Sprint estate as part of a wider ‘know-how’ arrangement.

Dixons Carphone deputy group chief executive and CEO of the CWS division Andrew Harrison said: “This is a significant step in growing our CWS business in the US. We bring specialist knowledge and skills to this relationship and will be looking to deliver innovation and outstanding customer service under the Sprint.”

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said: “Sprint is going to offer customers a greatly enhanced experience in buying wireless products and services. We are partnering with the world’s leading wireless retailer to improve the customer experience in stores. Dixons Carphone has the expertise and capabilities to accelerate this important part of our transformation journey.

Dixons Carphone has more than 1,298 stores in the UK (including around 800 Carphone Warehouse branded) and nearly 3,000 globally.

It will mark the second time it has attempted to enter the US market. It originally had a tie-up with Best Buy through the Best Buy Mobile joint venture but that ended in 2012 when the electronics retailer bought out Carphone for $1.2 billion. A similar JV in the UK and Europe between the two went live in 2008 but all 11 stores were closed in 2012.

Sprint, which has some 57 million mobile customers in the US, said this agreement is the latest in its strategy to expand distribution and provide shoppers with an improved customer experience.

Earlier this year it doubled the number of corporate-owned stores by opening Sprint at RadioShack in 1,435 locations, which are currently undergoing renovation.

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