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Fonehouse begins major overhaul of its retail estate

Paul Withers
August 1, 2016

“Hundreds of thousands” of pounds will be invested to help the retailer stand out from the crowd

Fonehouse is spending “hundreds of thousands of pounds” on a revamp of its store estate in a move to “significantly” stand out from its high street rivals.

The programme, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year, began earlier this month, with its shop in Shirley, West Midlands being the first to be revamped. This reopened last Thursday (July 21), with each of its 25 shops taking three to four days a time.

“We looked at our stores and they are a little bit tired.This re- fit programme is about bringing them up to date but also looking past today,” Fonehouse head of brand and communications Neil Henderson told Mobile News.

Neil Henderson“A lot of mobile phone stores are very similar and there isn’t a lot between them, but when you visit our stores, you will notice a very different environment.”

Out with the old

The main change will see the standard live handset display units replaced with those typically found in jewellers. These will have glass fronts that slide out and contain a live handset, which staff can then take out, demonstrate and provide a more hands-on experience with the customer.

Its current shop walls are being replaced by a more industrial, concrete feel, with illuminated signage replacing paper point-of-sale material to promote its IQ Mobile MVNO, accessory range, device trade-in and repair services. A separate display unit will also show off the latest mobile technology, such as smart wearables and virtual reality headsets.

A 55-inch television screen will be placed in the shop window of each revamped store to display all the latest offers, with 42-inch screens throughout the store providing customers with information and videos on the latest devices.

Smart move

Fonehouse is also planning to sell smart home products in the new stores in the next six months, enabling mobile users to control aspects such as their heating and security through an application on their device.

This is the first major revamp of its stores by Fonehouse since February 2011 in which it aimed to rival other leading high street retailers, with the changes documented on Channel 4 documentary ‘Mary Portas: Secret Shopper’.

“We’re aiming for a more personal approach with our customers – we don’t get dozens of people in-store at any one time like the bigger players so it’s more of a one-to-one inter- action with them,” concluded Henderson.

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