Argos unveils concept store it hopes will halt profit decline


Argos has revealed a new revamped store that it hopes will reinvigorate its high–street offering, with iPads, free WiFi and digital screen windows to replace paper posters, laminated catalogues and its famous little blue pencil.

The retailers first concept store of six is in Old Street, London and will be followed by an additional three in the capital, a store in Colchester, Essex and one in Dunfermiline, Scotland.

In-store staff will provide customer service through iPad‘s on the shop floor and Argos say customers will be served within 60 seconds for the first time via “Pay and collect” points.

The points signify the end for its long customer counters that could involve lengthy waits for a number to be called out by shop assistants.

The larger hub stores will feature an expanded range of about 20,000 items and will run routes to deliver products to its smaller ‘spoke‘ stores which stock around 12,000 products.

John Walden, Managing Director, Argos said it was seeking to re-position its stores “to support a digital future – in which digital channels are the primary interface for customers.” He maintained that stores continue to be very important as a national network for product collection.

Walden added that it was early in the plan to transform Argos into a digital retail leader.

The retailer has posted five straight years of profit decline and has been hit by the recession but hopes its new digital offering will turn around its sizeable high-street portfolio.

The new stores are tangible signs of new Digital Director, Bertrand Bodson‘s work since joining Argos in August. The retailer, who employs some 30,000 people, recently launched a digital gift guide for Christmas and tied up a click and collect deal with eBay.

Argos expects to roll out hub & spoke across its 700+ portfolio of stores from next year.