Apple shuns Dixons Carphone as UK Watch retailer

Apple left Europe's largest consumer electronics retailer, Dixons Carphone, off its list of UK suppliers for its forthcoming Watch wearable, according to the CEO of the retailer's UK and Ireland operations.

Graham Stapleton, chief executive of the group's UK Carphone Warehouse (CPW) mobile phone business, gave guarded confirmation that Apple is looking to retail its Watch through different channels from its iPhone range. Specifically, the U.S. device maker is seeking to sell the Watch through high-end fashion stores rather than regular mobile phone outlets, the Telegraph reported.

CPW would shrug off Apple's rejection and instead focus on wearable devices from rival vendors including Samsung and Motorola, Stapleton told the newspaper. The company is already dedicating space to 'wearable' technology at its 800 stores in the UK, and Stapleton noted that consumer research shows most people still prefer to buy mobile devices in a store rather than online, due to a lack of trust in Web retailers.

Dixons Carphone in January predicted that 17 million UK consumers will own a wearable device within three years.

Apple's decision not to sell the Watch through CPW comes three weeks after Sebastian James, CEO of Dixons Carphone, warned that the U.S. company's device is not certain to be a sales success. Speaking to Bloomberg, James said it is unclear if consumers will be willing to give up space on their wrists to Apple or anyone else.

The CEO pointed out that paying a premium for a watch from established high-end manufacturers like Tag Heuer is a purchase for life, while a smart watch that costs around the same is a device that will be out of date in the space of a year or two.

Dixons and CPW completed a £3.8 billion (€5.2 billion/$5.6 billion) merger in 2014 to create Europe's largest consumer electronics retailer.

For more:
- see this Telegraph article
- view this Bloomberg report

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