Analysis

Argos digs for victory with first Underground store

Promising the largest range of products from its smallest ever store, Argos has opened an outlet at Cannon Street Tube station on the London Underground network.

The store, which measures just 650 sq ft, will make 20,000 products available for same-day and next-day collection. By comparison, the average Argos store is around 15,000 sq ft.

David Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at Argos, told eDelivery the new central London store is only possible due to the retailer’s hub & spoke model, which sees around 150 larger hub stores serving the needs of more than 500 smaller spoke stores and that it could be the first of many.

“Around 50,000 people use Cannon Street station,” Robinson said. “There’s a huge opportunity for us to cater to those who’ll want to pop out at lunchtime, or after work, to pick up things they’ve bought.”

“We’re really excited but it’s the customers that will be the judge. I think it should do really well, and clearly if it does we’ll be talking to Transport for London to see what else we might be able to do.”

The Cannon Street Station store is part of Argos’s plan to open 50 digital stores by Christmas, and could also spark the arrival of similarly sited commuter-friendly outlets across the rest of the UK.

Robinson continued: “We’ve opened some of our digital format stores up and down the country, so we’re seeing how they react. Clearly if putting a store in an area where high volumes of people are commuting works, then that will be something we’d look to do elsewhere.”

In October 2012 Argos outlined a five-year plan to reinvent itself as a digital retail leader; transforming from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-led business. During the first half of this year, sales via the internet accounted for 43% of total sales, with almost a quarter of all sales being made via a mobile device, the company said in its recently announced financial results statement.