Retailers & Distributors

In the Game of Retail, You Either Win or You Lose (a job)

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The once king of the retail loses his head-- CNBC reports JC Penney chops "Genius Bar" creator Ron Johnson out after all of 17 months as CEO, following his failure to turn the ailing retailer's fortunes around.

Ron JohnsonWhen you play the game of thrones you either win or you die, the HBO TV series tells us. A maxim that equally applies to the cutthroat world of high stakes retail!

Reportedly Johnson's plans of making an Apple out of JCP (via no-sale strategy, more fashionable merchandise and shop-in-shop investment) failed big time. Hedge fund manager William Ackman, the man behind his recruitment, describes Johnson's decisions as no less than "big mistakes" and "very close to a disaster."

"One of the big mistakes was perhaps too much change too quickly without adequate testing on what the impact would be," Ackman continues. Then again, didn't Johnson promise "a period of true innovation" for the retailer?

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GAME Starts Selling Tablets

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GAMEAs videogames shift from physical to online sales UK retail chain GAME spices up its product offering by adding a slew of tablets on its market shelves. 

GAME already sells the Nexus 7, but soon 150 stores will offer 9 more tablets-- including the Archos Gamepad, the Acer Iconia B1-A71 and the obligatory 4th generation iPad and iPad mini. 

"Tablets are an increasingly popular gaming platform so it's a natural step for us to be at the heart of providing these to the UK gaming community," the retailer says. "We are really excited about the GamePad, it's great to be able to offer our customers something that is not only brand new but specifically tailored to gamers."

Go GAME Tablets

Mobile Fun Launches 20 International Websites

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UK-based online mobile device accessory retailer Mobile Fun completes its "MF20" initiative and launches 20 international websites in early 2013. 

Richard Moore Mobile FunNow the retailer has dedicated language and currency websites for 27 countries, and ships orders to over 50. 

European Mobile Fun websites cover Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. 

The international sites make around 36% of Mobile Fun total order volume, with Q4 2012 orders reaching over 46000 with 57% Y-o-Y growth. The retailer also forecasts £1.2 million EBITDA for the current financial year. 

Go Online Retailer Mobile Fun Launches Websites in 12 More Countries

freenet Acquires Gravis

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The freenet Group expands its portfolio and acquires Apple reseller Gravis for an undisclosed sum-- becoming one of the biggest Apple partners in the process. 

GravisEstablished in 1988, Gravis is the only nationwide Apple retailer in Germany and a leading European Apple reseller. It received the "Worldwide Best Apple Store" award in 2000 and, with following the iPhone and iPad, is also an established mobile device distributor. 

Gravis already established an exclusive collaboration agreement with freenet AG on October 2011 covering the marketing of subsidiary mobilcom-debitel Shop GmbH.

“The systematic expansion of our range of high-quality Apple lifestyle products for mobile communications and the mobile internet across all sales channels ideally complements our strategic development into a true digital lifestyle provider,” freenet AG CEO Christoph Vilanek says. “At the same time we are planning to gradually start selling our existing digital lifestyle products in the energy, mobile services and service products sector through Gravis.” 

Go freenet Group Acquires Gravis

Google to Push Further into Retail?

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9to5Google reports Google is planning stand-alone retail outlets in the US, if not beyond-- with hopes to open the first flagship Google Stores to customers by the holiday season.

ChromezoneAccording to "an extremely reliable source," Google wants to offer hands-on experience to its customers, just as the competition (Apple and Microsoft) already does.

Apparently Google Glass is the reason the company wants to push further into physical retail-- Google leadership believes potential customers will need to try the augmented-reality glasses before purchase. Such stores will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate upcoming Google projects (such as driverless cars), not to mention merchandise sales.

Other clues pointing towards Google take on retail include recent job postings for Point of Sale system developers.

Retail is not exactly a new sector for Google, even beyond online-- the company already has a physical retail presence in the shape of "Chromezone" stores inside 50 PCWorld and Dixons branches in the UK. However such outlets only offer Chromebooks and related accessories, and Google does not handle actual product or monetary transactions.

Go Google Will Open Own Stores by the End of the Year (9to5Google.com)