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Dixons Carphone to close 11 percent of UK stores

But it says sales and staff numbers won't be affected.
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Image Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The British high street is a difficult place to compete. Dixons Carphone, the company behind Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse, knows that all too well after announcing plans to shutter 134 stores. The downsizing manoeuvre will merge any remaining PC World and Currys outlets under a single brand -- the convoluted "Currys PC World" -- with a smaller Carphone Warehouse section inside. Although its footprint will shrink by 11 percent, Dixons Carphone says it's "very confident" the move will have a "neutral or better" impact on sales and staff numbers. It's an ambitious target, and one that puts faith in its new three-in-one store concept.

The closures could be a long overdue knock-on effect from the Dixons and Carphone Warehouse merger in 2014. It's more likely, however, an admittance that the company has strong competition and needs to be strategic with where and how it serves customers. Carphone Warehouse, for instance, is battling countless stores run by EE, Three and other UK networks, while its own carrier experiment, iD, hasn't made much of an impression. Currys and PC World are still some of the biggest gadget retailers in the UK, but they're up against companies like John Lewis and Argos, not to mention dedicated Apple and Samsung stores.

Throw Amazon and the rest of the online shopping world into the mix and Dixons Carphone has its hands full. Seb James, group CEO of Dixons Carphone, says he's still "very happy" with the company's performance over 2015/16, which included "good like-for-like growth" over its peak trading period. It would make sense, then, for the company to abandon some stores now and refurbish the rest while the going is still good.

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