Currys PC World to launch trial with Uber drivers delivering goods

The company behind Currys PC World is in talks to convey its products via Uber drivers as it looks to expand its home delivery services.

Dixons Carphone chief executive Alex Baldock said he would reveal more details in coming weeks but explained the plan was to ensure customers could receive goods quickly.

He said: “One of the big advantages of having stores as well as online is an increasing number of consumers are impatient and what their amazing technology right now, and we can get it faster than anyone else through order and collect, so we’re going to keep driving that time down.”

The boss said he aims to reduce order to collect times to just 15 minutes from one hour currently.

On the Uber trial, he said: “We’ll say a bit more about that in weeks to come but we’re flagging that it’s coming.

“It is a means of getting our technology to customers fast.

“One way of doing that is using our network of stores as local distribution hubs where we can partner with people like Uber to get the tech to customers right now.”

His comments come as the business revealed online electronics sales more than doubled as it shifted seamlessly to operating an improved web model during the pandemic.

Customers have been using the click and collect service in record numbers, with lockdowns seeing shoppers turn to gaming products in particular.

The newly formed work-from-home crowd also led to strong demand for new computer products, alongside coffee machines and home baking products, the company said.

The Euro 2020 championship is also seeing a strong boost in TV sales, as footfall fans snap up big screens to watch the action, it added.

Mr Baldock said: “You can see the effect of the Euros on TV sales, particularly on nations that are still in.

“Right at the moment we’re seeing 55 inch plus large screen TVs fly off the shelves.

“All of that said, this is less of an event driven business now.”

Online sales were the key growth area for the company, with online electricals revenues more than doubling to £4.3 billion in the year to May 1, including a 114% increase in online sales in the UK of £3.4 billion.

Bosses said the strong rise was due to offering online live chat functions with staff in stores, allowing customers to get real-time advice via video services.

As a result, its total share of the online electricals market grew six percentage points over its rivals.

But the company’s phone business, Carphone Warehouse, suffered heavily as the impact of store closures announced in March last year took its toll.

Revenues from mobiles fell 55% with a £117 million loss.

The strong year for Dixons Carphone, which is due to change its name to Currys Plc in September, came despite it being forced to close stores for large parts of the pandemic.

Total sales rose 2% to £10.3 billion with pre-tax profits hitting £33 million, up from a pre-tax loss a year earlier of £140 million.

Sales in electricals rose 14% but the total fell back due to the falling sales in the mobile division.

As a result of the performance, the company confirmed it has repaid £73 million claimed under the Government’s furlough scheme and a £144 million VAT deferral bill.

Following the repayments, bosses also revealed they will start paying a dividend to shareholders of 3p a share, worth around £34.7 million.