Exclusive: DSGi stops offering in-store credit to customers

26 April 2010

In the same week that Best Buy opens its first UK outlet, Bitterwallet has learnt that all DSGi stores - Currys, PC World and Currys Digital - will not be able to offer payment plans for purchases, for up to six weeks. Two sources at the electrical retailers have independently confirmed that customers will not be offered credit for the time being, after the company's retail sales agreement with HFC Bank was ended.

In other words, all goods bought at DSGi stores must be paid for in full by the customer at the tills, until the issue is resolved.

According to our initial source, a member of staff at PC World, an internal memo was circulated on the company intranet stating it would take up to six weeks to be able to provide credit through a new provider; upgrades are required to the Eclipse till system used in DSGi stores, and staff will need to be retrained to use the new online systems.

A member of staff at Currys Digital has since confirmed the story, stating that after trading ends today, the retailers will only be able to accept payment in full for any goods purchased, and that this would be the situation "for at least four weeks, until the new credit proposition is in place."

The implications for DSGi are serious; the company will lose a substantial amount of its revenue normally derived from credit agreements, on top of consumers deserting their stores in favour of the likes of Comet and John Lewis, where they can still purchase larger items on credit.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Games   Credit Cards


  • From E.
    NOOO I was hoping to buy an out of date Compaq laptop at an inflated price at 40% APR today.
  • buymorebod
    It's true, but please don't overstate the real impact - credit sales probably account for less than 5% of the true sales. Annoying, yes but ultimately not that big a deal, especially when you allow for the proportion of 'buy now pay in x months' deals, which don't make the company much money.
  • Gadget 4.
    I'm amazed such a big retailer would allow this happen, this must be a massive part of their income so to allow it to happen at all, let alone for 4-6 weeks is incredible. A business of this size should surely have had procedures in place to replace the facility with another one before it ran out.
  • Alex
    I can believe they are 5% of the total number but not 5% of the total revenue. It tends to be high ticket items that are bought on credit. I bet the total is more like 40% of revenue.
  • Codify
    Wow. Guess they'll have to change their Fives program to Fours for the moment.
  • Noghar
    Obviously it's a cunning plan by DSGi to help the UK economy by discouraging punters from buying yet more crap on credit. It couldn't possibly just be an enormous cockup. Not from a company this professional, slick, well-managed etc...
  • Zombini
    I'm guessing this won't be such a great loss, since it'll push up the number of people taking out the mobile broadband/free laptop offer. That offer's not tied to HFC, and the company gets a big chunk of change from the mobile companies for selling these contracts.
  • Squid
    So Fives will go like this (if I damn can remember) What brings you into this dump today? Are you thinking of buying by cash, card or our non existent credit system that we forgot about that we can not offer you?
  • buymorebod
    Alex: 5% of cash sales - do you really think 40% of revenue comes from credit applications? Do you have any clue about retail? On average it takes about 15 minutes to process a credit application (at this time, it is just an application) - it's not guaranteed and regularly these applications get 'referred' which then take at least 15 minutes for a decision to be made. It would be unsustainable and impractical to have a process that could take 30+ minutes to arrange payment for any item and that's AFTER the sales process has concluded which may have taken 15+ minutes as you are demoing and test driving the possible options. Finally, until HFC have confirmed payment, there is NO guarantee that the finance will be approved. Ask anybody in any consumer retail store (JL, comet, currys etc.) and they'll tell you a recent story where they've had the perfect sale (big ticket item, all the KPI's, insurance, attachments etc.), spent alot of time with the customers only for the credit to get blown out at the last minute. Unfortunately that's sales, but it happens. It is not a business model that you want to happen for 40% of your sales - you can cope with 5%. Codify: Why should 5's change? Surely it's more relevant now? "Are you thinking cash or a monthly amount?" Monthly? We're currently not offering any instore credit facilities, so you'll have to settle on a credit card, is that OK? Saves a huge amount of time, not selling to people who can't pay for it and from a customers point of view, saves time choosing a product they then can't purchase.
  • Joe S.
    This reminds me of the £116,674 compensation DSG and HFC were successfully sued for: http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/opinions/A187_04.html buymorebod - monthly will also start referring to their broadband deals, rather than credit or broadband. I would also say credit sales amount to more than 5% of revenue. I would say that for high ticket items, a credit agreement was around 1 in 5 sales. Each store was targeted to get *at least 1 credit agreements per day* when I was there. That's 665 per day (Based on 665 stores) over 4-6 weeks... 18620 to 27930 transactions. In many cases, that's going to be 18620 - 27930 lost sales. I sort of feel sorry for DSG now.
  • Alex
    Maybe 40% was an overestimate, but I still think 5% is definitely an underestimate in revenue terms. Either way its a lot of potential sales lost in a company that has tiny margins. Its going to hurt.
  • buymorebod
    'Monthly' already should include the Mobile Broadband solutions - it's the easiest entrance to selling MBB you'll get, but is obviously only relevant to PC sales. 5% is not an underestimate. It is what our average sized store currently takes. It is 5% of sales by value. On average taking of £100k per week or so, credit sales represent £5k. Yes, over 650 stores and over 4 weeks, that's alot of money but the overall effect will not be as serious as Bitterwallet are trying to make out. Remember sales in the UK last year were £4.2 billion
  • PC B.
    [...] morning we told you that all DSGi stores – including PC World and Currys – are unable to offer credit to customers, from the end of today and for up to the next six weeks. That means no payment plans will be [...]
  • spunky
    will affect the small high street stores a lot more, thats where all the poor people shop
  • paynowbuylater
    when a target was given for HFC finance it was 6% revenue , as far as i know that KPI hasnt been around for a long while. it was certainly under 1% of revenue sales when i was there, and i believe that interest free options actually cost to set up, the banks always make their bit?
  • businessman
    Joe Smith that DSGI story is a fantastic read "Damages are reasonably calculated at £116674" lolzor
  • spunky
    whoever at the top level of dsgi didnt handle this with a max of 1-2 weeks handover, is fucking clown shoes. dixons group really dont need anymore bad press
  • Tom H.
    As an employee to DSGi in a PCWorld outlet let me shed some light… From what we have heard DSGi have signed a new contract with Barclays who will offer a lower rate of interest and more payment options to our store customers. What these methods are will remain unknown until Barclays come into play in 6 weeks down the line. The reason for the gap in finance during the transition is HFC’s overall thoughts on the matter. Eclipse, our instore terminal system where we process customer orders will disallow us to process any new transactions for finance as of this weekend due to HFC pulling the plug as a result of hearing about the new contract with Barclays. Furthermore, as we have been told HFC are pulling out of consumer finance entirley due to DSGi brining in the most finance deals… This is not to say that existing customers will lose their payment plans entirley and be required to pay in one go, as its far from it… HFC, under contract are to keep all existing customers for the duration of their plans. We have been informed that the 6 week process is whilst Eclipse and the Barclays Network are equipped to talk to one another so that we can process credit checks and credit agreements within store, like we have been able to do previously under HFC. We are being told to inform customers to purchase their new goods, be it a TV, Blueray or top of the range machine on a Credit Card where possible and should you wish to take out a credit agreement we are asking customers to retain receipts and return in 6 weeks for a full refund and we will start a credit agreement on that date for the price of their purchased goods. (What date is currently unknown and don’t quote me on this offer as it comes from our instore managers.) Hope this helps you understand why we can’t offer you finance at this time. And yes, DSGi HQ – I have used a fake name in this instance.
  • Anon
    Actually, as a DSGi employee I can confirm that we will be going to "LaserUK" to supply our credit, formerly known as "Creation Finance", who supply a lot of stores with finance. This move was made because HFC are exiting the consumer credit market, which, gave Currys the perfect reason to move to somebody with a higher acceptance rate, as HFC only accepts 60% of applications put through. LaserUK are also big on store cards...
  • John
    Finance rates at DSG are 2.2% for the year, lower at PCW and higher for Currys. Although PC World may suffer a little more as their credit mix has a higher propotion of Buy Now Pay Later deals and their average credit deal is higher with customers buying higher ticket and so higher margin items that will now be lost. Currys on the otherhand will suffer the loss of the "I need a washing machine now as my is broke and I don't care how much I pay as long as I can have it now 'cos I've run out clothes" emergency purchase. A major plc throwing away 2% of its UK stores Turnover for 6 weeks as it needs to "update its systems" before using a new provider is somewhat economical with the truth or we badly need a new IT department. Saying that we do as every system we have is crap anyway!
  • mahmood
    This will be final nail in the coffin i tell you its great they are loosing money business and lots of cusotmers and JOHN LEWIS COMET Best Buy and others are making great profit which is good news for them bless.. DSGI will hopefully Melt down one day and get taken over by Best Buy who will make it a more nicer store to shop in where you are not pressured into buy Cost price 20 pence leads at £100 each when are just as good as £1 lead from Pound Land. I tell you they are crooks and must be sued and put into adminstration or taken over by Wal Mart Best Buy or Some other firm. Good Riddence to them
  • Aventura A.
    [...] Exclusive: DSGi stops offering in-store credit to customers … [...]
  • Ashar
    first of all John Lewis, Comment and Argos are offering credits with 27%- 30% interest rates and DSGi stores are offering 19.9% APR and if the purchase is over £1,500 the APR drops down to 9.9% which is unbeatable at the moment in electronics retailers. So, DSGi is still the market leader, you guys just need something to criticise, thats it.
  • scary m.
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