OVERLAND PARK, KAN – Sprint is teaming up with European CE retailer Dixons Carphone to build out the carrier’s base of Sprint-branded retail stores in the U.S. and improve the operations of all Sprint wireless sales channels. In a former joint venture with Best Buy, Dixons helped launch Best Buy Mobile stores.
The partnership coincides with Sprint’s recent launch of two other retail strategies, including the phased rollout of a 5,000-vehicle fleet to deliver phones for free to a customer’s location, set up the phones, and transfer content. It also follows the purchase of the RadioShack brand by General Wireless, enabling Sprint to get an exclusive presence in 1,435 Sprint-RadioShack stores by the first week of July.
Under the Dixons deal, Sprint said it would work closely with the Dixons Carphone Connected World Services (CWS) division on a pilot program to build and operate about 20 Sprint stores in select U.S. markets. Sprint will own and staff the stores, and CWS will manage them. “CWS will also apply its expertise and best practices across all of Sprint’s sales channels,” Sprint said.
If the pilot stores are successful, Sprint and Dixons Carphone will create a joint venture to open and operate “a substantial number” of new Sprint-brand stores across the U.S. The two companies will kick in equal amounts of money to pay for the start-up costs of the joint venture, and each company will initially have 50 percent ownership interest.
“The relationship is expected to accelerate Sprint’s retail transformation and is the latest inventive move to grow [Sprint’s] number of retail stores,” Sprint said.
Andrew Harrison, Dixons Carphone deputy group chief executive and CWS CEO, called the partnership “a significant step in growing our CWS business in the U.S.” The company brings “specialist knowledge and skills to this relationship,” he said.
As for the opening of 1,435 Sprint- RadioShack stores by the first week of July, about 300 stores of those stores will be completely renovated to a new store-within-a-store model by that time, Sprint said. The remainder will be completed by the end of the year. The stores will get new signage, new fixtures and a look-and-feel that is similar to other Sprint-owned stores.