The Hughes Electrical Group has announced the launch of a new brand intended to help it compete in the rapidly changing, and highly competitive, world of electrical retailing.
Six of its largest stores have been rebranded as Hughes Plus; four are the former Bennetts outlets in Cromer, Norwich, Martlesham and Colchester, while the others are a new Hughes shop in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich and the existing one in Mason Road, Norwich, in an exercise requiring a £500,000 investment by the company.
Reportedly, the launch of Hughes Plus comes as research shows physical stores need to be supported by a strong website. The increasing popularity of ‘click & collect’ means the website in turn must be supported by stores which are easy to access, have large stock ranges and free on-site parking.
Hughes Electrical managing director Robert Hughes (pictured) commented: “Fewer electrical products are being bought in store making it harder to justify our two existing brands. Of those people who do buy in a shop 60% have already looked at the product online. A single brand is a lot easier and more cost effective to promote across all these media channels.
“All of the Hughes Plus outlets will give an outstanding customer experience and offer same day delivery and installation; have areas dedicated to and supported by leading manufacturers and offer free customer parking. The former Bennetts store in Hall Road Norwich has been completely refitted to this high standard. They also have a massive stock range, with more built-in appliances, imaging and specialist audio sections.”
As part of the exercise three of the smallest Hughes stores in Bowthorpe, Colchester and Woodbridge will be closing.
“We are closing these stores which trade close to the rebranded Bennetts outlets to save unnecessary duplication and customer confusion,” said Robert. “Because of their size and location none could offer a ‘click & collect’ service. We have not shut a shop for over a decade so it is not a decision taken lightly but the changing market means that it was necessary. All staff affected by this process have been offered relocation to other Hughes and Hughes Plus stores. There are no plans to shut any other stores but relocations to larger shops with parking remain very much on the agenda.”