Samsung teams with Carphone for 60 stores across Europe

Samsung, the world's leading smartphone maker, is collaborating with Carphone Warehouse on a new store concept that will see the mobile phone retailer operate more than 60 Samsung standalone stores across Europe.

Carphone Warehouse, Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer, has signed a "preferred partner" agreement with Samsung Electronics following the opening in 2013 of three standalone stores in Spain operated by Carphone.

The new stores will be rolled out in the next three months across seven European markets: UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands. The stores will sell Samsung's full range of mobiles, tablets, laptops and wearables.

"We are delighted to have been chosen as Samsung's preferred European partner for their store rollout," Carphone Warehouse CEO Andrew Harrison stated. "Our Connected World Services business will combine Carphone Warehouse's retailing expertise and systems with one of the world's biggest brands and will help us make even more lives better through connected technology."

The companies noted the alliance plays to both their strengths, and has the potential to be expanded further in future.

Samsung is already the dominant provider of smartphones worldwide. According to latest figures published by IDC, the South Korea-based company held a 31.3 per cent market share by the end of 2013, with shipments reaching 313.9 million out of total global smartphone shipments of over 1 billion.

Second-placed Apple was still some way behind with a 15.3 per cent share, followed by Huawei (4.9 per cent), LG Electronics (4.8 per cent) and Lenovo (4.5 per cent).

Nonetheless, Samsung showed some slippage towards the end of 2013: IDC said the company's market share was 28.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of the year, compared with Apple's 17.9 per cent, and also saw a Q4 decline compared to Q3: "Even with sustained demand for its Galaxy S III, S4, and Note models, as well as its deep selection of mid-range and entry-level models, the company realised a decline compared to the previous quarter," IDC noted.

Indeed, the alliance with a leading retailer such as Carphone indicates that Samsung is not resting on its laurels when it comes to promoting its devices. While the company registered a 42.9 per cent increase in shipments in 2013 and 22.9 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, it must constantly monitor the progress of rivals such as China's Huawei, which saw 67.5% growth in 2013 and 56.5 per cent growth in the fourth quarter.

Carphone Warehouse's retail business, meanwhile, operates around 2,000 stores in seven European countries, principally under the Carphone Warehouse and Phone House brands.

The company reported a 13 per cent decline in new connections and a 7 per cent drop in earnings in the December quarter of 2013 as demand for pay-as-you-go deals fell. At the same time, the company saw revenue lifted by demand for LTE devices and services: more than 30 per cent of Carphone's new contract customers chose LTE during the December quarter, up from 20 per cent in the previous quarter, according to the Guardian.

For more:
- see this Carphone Warehouse release
- see this IDC release
- see this Guardian article

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