DSG hires Webb to forge international expansion

DSG, the retail group that this month announced that its Dixons brand would exit the high street, has recruited Mark Webb as group PR manager to aid its international expansion plans.

Webb said his newly created role would be to 'explain the DSG International (DSGi) story'.

'DSGi operates in 14 European countries and business is expanding,' said Webb. 'It made sense to add to the in-house team.' He reports to DSGi media relations director Hamish Thompson.

Webb will work on 'proactive and strategic' corporate PR campaigns. He was previously head of comms at David Lloyd Leisure, but was a casualty of a redundancy programme last November by parent firm Whitbread.

Earlier this month, DSGi revealed that it was moving its Dixons business online and replacing the high street fascia with its Currys brand. All 190 Dixons stores will be replaced by the 'Currys.digital' moniker, with the range expanded into larger appliances – ending nearly 70 years of the Dixons name on British high streets.

DSGi owns a number of retail chains, most notably Currys, PC World and mobile phone shops Genesis Communications and The Link.

DSGi continues to expand its portfolio, and this month finalised a deal to acquire a 75 per cent controlling stake in Fotovista Group, which owns European online camera and consumer goods retailer Pixmania. The £184m deal is part of the DSGi strategy to expand in Europe and bolster its online sales presence.

Despite dwindling high-street sales, the online focus seems to be working – DSGi saw a 70 per cent growth in online sales in 2005.
This year it ended sales commission to staff at PC World stores in response to customer criticism, instead replacing the scheme with
a 'team bonus' across PC World stores.

Webb joined David Lloyd in 2003 as part of its first in-house PR function (PRWeek, 26 April 2003). Prior to that, he was an account director at Biss Lancaster and head of internal comms EMEA at the Walt Disney Company.

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