Dixons Retail has deployed analytical software to help it locate stores in optimal business locations in the UK and elsewhere.

The electrical retailer is using the MapInfo Professional geographic analysis tool, from supplier Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI), in order to optimise the location of stores in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Nordic countries.

The software will be used for Currys and PC World stores, as well as to support distribution planning for the Dixons.co.uk and Pixmania.com online operations.  

MapInfo Professional will be used by the retailer to analyse the catchment areas and demographics of its 600-plus store locations in the UK and Ireland to assess how far customers are prepared to travel to buy electrical and computing goods.

The aim is for Dixons to be able to identify exactly which type of store it needs in which location. It also helps with sales forecasting and the correct allocation of products.

Drive time data - the amount of time it takes to travel between locations by road - is a vital element for Dixons Retail in deciding where best to locate its stores. This information helps determine whether the current site of each store is accessible and profitable or whether the store might need to be re-located - from moving to a different town to changing the brand within a retail park.

Kate Broad, site location analysis planner at Dixons Retail, said, “It is absolutely vital for our customers and for our bottom line that our stores are located in the most attractive and accessible locations. MapInfo Professional significantly improves our strategic decision-making in terms of store location, which has a direct and positive impact on customer engagement, sales and profits.”

Dixons Retail is also using MapInfo Professional to analyse store locations across its portfolio of shops across Europe, which includes 200-plus sites across the Nordic region.

The retailer is currently reassessing the placement of its stores during its property transformation plan. MapInfo Professional enables the location team at Dixons Retail to accurately assess their European property portfolio, allowing it to operate more efficiently and more profitably.

Meanwhile, Dixons has put on hold the rollout of a SAP enterprise resource planning system in order to cut costs. The company has already implemented financial modules of the ERP system, as well as migrated much of its core data to SAP, but has delayed the rollout of the supply chain module.