Dixons reviews comms to fight retail downturn

Electrical goods group Dixons is staging a comprehensive review of its agency needs as it fights tough UK trading conditions and bids to position itself as increasingly European.

The review comes as the firm - which operates the PC World, The Link, Currys and Dixons retail chains in the UK - prepares to change its name to DSG International to reflect its overseas ambitions.

Director of corporate affairs Kai Boschmann, who joined in February from Burger King, told PRWeek she wanted to bring in 'skills we are not currently getting', citing corporate PR, public affairs and brand-building as areas where she wanted a 'sparring partner'.

Dixons' incumbent agencies are Tulchan Communications (for City work), Talk PR (consumer) and Brazil (on a B2B brief for PC World).

It is also working with AxiCom, which emerged this week as the victor in a recent pitch process to position PC World as 'at the core of the digital lifestyle industry'. AxiCom takes over from Blitz PR.

UK operating profits at the Dixons group fell nine per cent to £232m last year, it was announced last week. But international stores increased their operating profits by 27 per cent to £81m, fuelled by acquisitions and organic growth.

'Our business is now around 30 per cent in Europe and PR needs to reflect that,' said Boschmann.

PR spend will be roughly unchanged but budgets need to be spent more 'smartly', warned Boschmann, who said she wanted to complete the review by September.

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