What Woolworths Selling Dick Smith Will Mean For Customers And Staff

Nine months after putting it on the market, Woolworths has found a buyer for its Dick Smith electronics chain. Anchorage Capital Partners will purchase the remaining 325 stores, but what will that mean for consumers and the people who work there?

As we noted when Woolworths first announced its plans to sell off Dick Smith back in January, it will take a while before we see any clear impact in terms of pricing and product lines, and that remains the case even with a buyer. One obvious consequence will be that Dick Smith loses access to Amazon's Kindle e-readers, which have been sold exclusively through Woolworths-owned stores. However, since the cheapest way to buy a Kindle is direct from Amazon itself, that's not much of a concern for the savvy consumer.

More significant is that Dick Smith won't be able to take advantage of Woolworths' scale when purchasing product; it now stands on its own. That isn't necessarily a problem; rival JB Hi-Fi is highly competitive on price. Dick Smith rated well for customer service in a recent CHOICE shadow shopping exercise, but managed to annoy a lot of customers with a poorly-managed game sale earlier this year.

Anchorage is unlikely to want to hold the company for the long term; capital firms typically restructure businesses and then sell them to someone else. Woolworths alludes to that scenario in its announcement, which notes that it will receive $20 million this financial year but could also benefit from "any upside resulting from a future sale of Dick Smith by Anchorage". That's far more likely to mean additional store closures and redundancies than any kind of expansion. If I was a staff member, I'd be nervous, but we'll have to wait and see. [via CRN]

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Comments

    I think we will all need to get used to this. The kind of retail we are used to cannot remain competitive and eventually they are all going to disappear or morph into something hideous like Best Buy in the US. It has happened already for music retailers and DVD stores are well down the same path, now it's time for electrical.
    In Chatswood, one of the biggest retail precincts in Sydney, Dick Smith have gone from having a huge "Powerhouse" store and a more traditional Dick Smith store to no stores at all in just a few years. If they can't make a go of it in Chatswood, I can't see them thriving anywhere.

      That is the sad reality.

    I used to work for dicksmith, was in the computer/tech section. What this means is that hopefully staff get better discounts and incentives. We all got 5% off, which is pretty crap imo... Customers got way more (when they would haggle prices down) The commission system was horrible, we only ever got commission if we pushed for 'accessories/extra's ' when selling an item ie if i was selling a laptop i would also need to sell a bag, software, media storage devices ect... my pay was $15.40 an hour you would get commission every month and it never really got into the double digits, most i got was about $40.00.

    Working at dicksmith you work under fear, fear of secret shoppers, fear of not pushing for sales...
    You can give a customer the best service but if you don't offer dicksmith services like rent smart and warranties then you would fail the secret shopper test and would be pulled aside for a lecture by the manager

    We were forced to sell stupid things like 'Rent smart' even though you knew the customer did not want it you still had to force it upon them in fear of them being a 'secret shopper' I remember getting weekly reviews from the manager telling me to lift my game because i did not push enough rent smart applications. Rent smart is a scam if you look through it.

    Working at dicksmiths was one of the most stressful jobs i have had so far, i currently work as an IT tech managing various large corporations (IT wise) in a team, and the stress does not even come close.

    Sorry if my writing is all confusing, typing this on a mobile lol

      Fucken A. Over that that attachment system doesn't even work half the time. The other day I sold an iTouch and an iPod dock and no attachment was recorded. I was pretty shitty to say the least, specially when you have managers breathing down your neck about selling them along with extended warrentys.

        I have to agree there about the stress at DS after managing stores for a number of years. I used to work many a 12 hour day/60 hour week and always paid for only 40 hours. It was what was required to keep things up to a minimum. I saw the writing on the wall a few years ago when they invested heavily on rebranding the place when worldwide electronic sales were sliding and profit margins slumped.

        I made the decision to leave last year when we were selling a $1000+ laptop with only a $4 margin. The hope was that people would buy software/bags/accessories to make it up. We sold about 6 of them, and no one wanted anything extra. In fact we copped alot of flack from customers for not discounting them further when asked.

        This type of scenario became common with other big items too and I could not see a future in bricks and mortar consumer electronics being the way they are.

        Now I work a 38 hour week, get paid more and have a great work-life balance. I miss the great team/family atmosphere we once had, but the pressure on sales/profit is such that it makes them impossible long term to work for.

    So basically the message is, if you work in DSE, find a new job before you lose your job.

    I used to work for dicksmith, was in the computer/tech section. What this means is that hopefully staff get better discounts and incentives. We all got 5% off, which is pretty crap imo… Customers got way more (when they would haggle prices down) The commission system was horrible, we only ever got commission if we pushed for ‘accessories/extra’s ‘ when selling an item ie if i was selling a laptop i would also need to sell a bag, software, media storage devices ect… my pay was $15.40 an hour you would get commission every month and it never really got into the double digits, most i got was about $40.00.

    Working at dicksmith you work under fear, fear of secret shoppers, fear of not pushing for sales…
    You can give a customer the best service but if you don’t offer dicksmith services like rent smart and warranties then you would fail the secret shopper test and would be pulled aside for a lecture by the manager

    We were forced to sell stupid things like ‘Rent smart’ even though you knew the customer did not want it you still had to force it upon them in fear of them being a ‘secret shopper’ I remember getting weekly reviews from the manager telling me to lift my game because i did not push enough rent smart applications. Rent smart is a scam if you look through it.

    Working at dicksmiths was one of the most stressful jobs i have had so far, i currently work as an IT tech managing various large corporations (IT wise) in a team, and the stress does not even come close.

    Sorry if my writing is all confusing, typing this on a mobile lol

    i've worked for des, in perth, they are a solid company. shame to see them leave woolworths.

    Dse was one of the worst places I have worked. But i guessI went there after being at jb's...

    I used to work for dicksmith, was in the computer/tech section. What this means is that hopefully staff get better discounts and incentives. We all got 5% off, which is pretty crap imo… Customers got way more (when they would haggle prices down) The commission system was horrible, we only ever got commission if we pushed for ‘accessories/extra’s ‘ when selling an item ie if i was selling a laptop i would also need to sell a bag, software, media storage devices ect… my pay was $15.40 an hour you would get commission every month and it never really got into the double digits, most i got was about $40.00.

    The ABC reported the possibility of new stores opening. Of course I know that duplicate, small (ex-Tandy), and unprofitable stores already kicked the bucket.

    James i work in consumer electronics under a comm structure and honestly it sounds like sales is just not for you, pushing services warranties and accessories is the bread and butter of my day and the targets arnt meant to be easy to meet if you made comm targets every budget they wouldnt be targets would they

    5% staff discount applies to all Woolies companies so if you shop smart you can get your groceries,fuel,smokes and booze discounted as well.
    Motor mouth is right(for once;)) retail is changing, in the city center of Adelaide there are no dedicated DVD or CD shops anymore, if JB don't have it your screwed, games retailers will properly be next.

      Yeah, but JB will have it. And if they don't, they will order it. So fear not!! :D

    What this truly means is that the man himself, Dick Smith, will complain about how overseas companies ruined an Australian store.

    Despite the fact that he always complains about this after he sells his Australian company to an overseas buyer.

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