Sky, the owner of Sky News, has announced plans to open its first retail stores in a boost for the beleaguered high street.
The company said it was to start off in Liverpool next week and slowly expand the operation in the coming years “across the UK”.
It was unable to put a figure on the number of stores it was targeting or say how many jobs might be created in the process, given the continuing disruption to retail from the COVID-19 crisis.
The media and entertainment firm said the shops would offer its pay TV, mobile and broadband products under one roof but also prove a “departure” from traditional stores.
Sky said they would place the customer experience at their heart, including interactive experiences, and be a new social hub for shoppers.
In addition to its own advisers, the company said a tie-up with technology repair chain iSmash would offer professional repair and support services for smart devices.
An expansion to bricks and mortar stores is rare for the high street landscape as participants have been prioritising investment in online services for many years – a move exacerbated by more recent disruption to trading from coronavirus restrictions.
Where jobs have been lost in the UK
A Sky News jobs tracker shows the retail sector among the hardest hit to date.
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s chief executive for the UK and Europe, said: “Our new Sky shops are a great way for us to showcase the amazing benefits and customer service we have to offer new and existing customers.
“We’re proud to see our shops opening at a challenging time for the UK high street, and alongside our partners at iSmash, we’ll bring service, innovation and convenience all in one place, under one roof, at a time when keeping people connected has never been more important.”