BBC News Magazine

Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Thursday, 6 April 2006 12:59 UK

R.I.P. Dixons

DIXONS, as familiar a sight to shoppers as the TV sets in the corners of their living rooms, has had its plug pulled. Its circuits fried, its batteries failed, its tube blown.

Lights will start going out soon in the illuminated fascias at 190 branches, though it is not known if the company took out extended warranties on the signs.

Dixons shopfront

Dixons is survived by its internet arm; High Street branches will be renamed "", a development not expected to please Lynne Truss.

Born in 1937, Dixons' earliest days were spent at the seaside, in Southend, when fatherly Charles Kalms chose the name for his new offspring by picking the name from a telephone directory (it fitted above the door).

Appropriately its address was 32 High Street - and over the next 70 years the name became almost the definition of mass High Street retailing, though this was not always a good thing. Many people, including English Heritage, attacked the rise of so-called "Clone Towns" where chains stores made every High Street look the same.

Current boss John Clare predicted some customers might feel nostalgic that the name would be disappearing. And indeed many gadget/appliance-loving Brits will have first dipped their toes into the culture of consumerism at a branch of the shop.

But Dixons was not universally popular. In 2004, the Financial Times said that the shop's staff "have, perhaps unfairly, engendered a new social stereotype - the spotty youth who sneers at the technically challenged customer". Clare himself replied there were indeed probably too many spotty youths, but that staff were trained not to sneer.

Friends might have foreseen the decline of the Dixons name when the company said it was no longer stocking 35mm cameras. That icon of 1980s gadgets, the VHS recorder, came next. And now Dixons has followed countless gadgets into obsolescence.

No flowers.

Add your tributes using the form below.

What?! No extended warranty??
Kev, Douglas IOM

More like Dixoffs, then.
Simon Williams, Scoriton, Devon

That's a bit of a kick in the peripherals.
Alex Blagona, Ipswich, UK

"Evening, all"
Alan Clarke, Cambridge

Dixons, there's appliance in all our hearts for you.
Dave, Cambridge

They've had their (micro)chips.
Jim, Doncaster

Rob Scahill, Baldock, UK

Analogue to Analogue, Digital to Digital. R.I.P. Amen.
Peter, Derbyshire

Reception's gone
Candace, New Jersey, US

Nothing to blow a fuse over.
Tim Johnson, Liverpool

But who pulled the plug?
Paul Hutton, London

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