New Argos CEO plots radical reinvention

The new boss of Argos says he has been given a clean sheet from Home Retail Chairman Oliver Stocken to embark upon a brand new strategy for the catalogue retailer.

And speaking to Bloomberg, John Walden said that he’s open to the idea of potentially using Argos stores in a very different way.

I will certainly look hard at the store franchise and how we use the stores both from a customer experience standpoint in terms of convenience and speed, but also how else can we use the stores strategically,” he stated.

One idea would be the use of stores as a collection point for orders placed from other online retailers. He also refused to rule out the possibility of closing stores whose leases are coming up for renewal.

Argos recently posted an 8.8 per cent decline in sales for the 18 weeks ending December 2011. Walden was appointed to the role of Argos CEO earlier this week. The American exec has previously worked fro Best Buy and Sears.

However, he did stress that all of Argos’ stores remain profitable.

The stores potentially are a real strategic asset for us as we think about a multi-channel offer that is better relative to people we compete with, whether that’s Amazon, other e- tailers or grocery chains expanding their offer or others,” he assured.

They can be used and assembled in a way that we could potentially offer a real difference in the market place. We will see what we can do to re-evaluate the customer experience.”

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