Technology

Sprint buys out European partner in store expansion venture

Sprint set out to open 500 stores with its European partner Dixons Carphone. They have unwound the deal, but continue to work together, after opening more than 100 stores.
Sprint set out to open 500 stores with its European partner Dixons Carphone. They have unwound the deal, but continue to work together, after opening more than 100 stores. BLOOMBERG NEWS

Nearly two years into an effort to open 500 Sprint stores together, Sprint and its European partner have unwound the partnership.

Dixons Carphone and Sprint had opened more than 100 of the stores stores through a joint venture owned equally between them. Announcements by each said Sprint will buy Dixons Carphone’s half, without disclosing terms of the sale.

In its announcement, Sprint said it would continue to use Dixons Carphone’s retail platform in additional Sprint stores.

“This partnership achieved its objective of accelerating Sprint’s retail transformation,” Kevin Crull, Sprint’s president of omnichannel sales, said in the announcement. “We are rapidly expanding our retail footprint to serve the high demand for the Sprint value proposition,”

Crull also said the existing Sprint Connect stores would remain fully staffed and that the ownership change would not disrupt operations. The companies also will continue to work together.

The announcement by Dixons Carphone said the change stemmed from “the changing U.S. mobile market landscape and Sprint’s review of its own distribution strategy.”

It said the companies agreed that Dixons Carphone would focus on putting its Honeybee phone sales platform “across the entire Sprint estate.” Dixons Carphone has described Honeybee as combining technology with human interaction “to improve customer experiences and ultimately drive sales conversion and efficiency.”

Dixons Carphone and Sprint struck their original agreement in July 2015 and announced the 500 store program in February 2016. They had agreed in March 2016 to bring Dixons Carphone’s Honeybee into Sprint’s retail footprint.

Sprint is in the process of converting about 360 stores it previously shared with the retailer RadioShack into Sprint-owned stores. That effort included some of the 60 stores Sprint recently announced in five northeastern states.

Overland Park-based Sprint has made similar store announcements in south Florida, Texas and the Chicago area.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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