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Dick Smith faces tricky times

Retailer faces review possible extinction

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Australia's iconic high street gadget, TV and computer retailer Dick Smith faces an uncertain future, following the announcement that parent company Woolworths will be conducting strategic review of the underperforming electronics chain.

Woolworths has already closed seven Dick Smith in the 2011 financial year.

Analysts are already suggesting that Woolworths might merge the Dick Smith stores into its BigW and Masters hardware businesses.

The review comes as Woolworths revealed that it was to re-focus strongly on ramping up its online platforms.

“We are really seeing a revolution in retail as customers integrate mobile, social networking and other internet-enabled technologies into their bricks and mortar shopping experience,” said Woolworths chief executive, Grant O’Brien.

“It isn’t a question of online or offline; it’s about creating integrating the two seamlessly and we are increasingly finding that our most valuable customers are ones who do both,” he said

O’Brien, revealed that Woolworths customers who shop both in-store and online spend 70 per cent more than those who just shop the old school way. The grocery giant will also be working on upgrading its iphone app, which has had 1.1 million downloads since it launched in August.

Woolworths subsidiary Big W has also announced the launch of an app for customers with which they can both shop and use price comparison tools.

Earlier this year, Woolworths implemented Visa’s contactless payment technology, payWave, across all stores including Dick Smith. ®

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