By July 22, 2010

Mobile centres to rival Tesco after collapse of Orange concessions trial



Asda is poised to launch its own phone shops in a bid to rival Tesco and Carphone Warehouse after its concessions deal with Orange collapsed last month.

The retail giant is planning to roll out in-store Asda mobile centres selling both prepaid and contract handsets on a range of networks. One Asda source told Mobile: ‘Rather than just offering Orange concessions, Asda wants to open mobile centres in store a bit like Carphone Warehouse stores which will include a number of operators, like Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, all within a mobile phone centre.’

The news comes just weeks after trials of two Orange concessions at Asda collapsed. Sources said the two concessions at Asda’s Manchester and Milton Keynes superstores delivered little additional footfall for Asda and poor returns for Orange. Staff at the Manchester Eastlands store told Mobile: ‘Orange just wasn¹t selling very much so the trial was stopped a month ago.’

One source at the Milton Keynes store added: ‘Orange and Asda failed to come to an agreement about reletting the concession space after our store refit was completed so the trial was ended.’ It is thought that the mobile centres will be placed in all 36 Asda supercentres first, with the possibility of a further roll out across its 320 smaller stores.

Industry sources said Asda’s move mirrors its supermarket rival Tesco’s mobile strategy. CCS Insight MD Shaun Collins said: ‘This does not surprise me. Walmart is big in the mobile sector in the US and this will be a competitive reaction to Tesco.’

‘Mobile is one of the fastest growing sectors in the marketplace and one which pulls people in store. It is strategically important to Asda as part of its non-grocer strategy.’ An Orange spokeswoman said: ‘Our pilot has been finalised and we are now reviewing how to strongly position our two brands in Asda.’

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