The Death Throes of Dick Smith Electronics

, posted: 29-Dec-2011 00:15

Short random blog post...

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Sigh.  Yes, Dick Smith doesn't sell solder any more.  

Strange to think that once upon a time Dick Smith Electronics actually bought out David Reid Electronics, another real electronics chain, and then promptly started down the dumbification process which they have now nearly completed.

Thank goodness for Jaycar etc.

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Comment by insane, on 29-Dec-2011 03:49

Agree, went in to buy a cheap multimeter with a friend a few weeks ago from DSE Albany which is one of their highest grossing stores, but alas they no longer sell them.

It's no real suprise though, back when I worked for DSE from '05 to '07 the process of downsizing the electronics (p) category had already well begun and by late '07 DSE had systematically worked everyone who had some understanding about electronics out of the company. Staff turnover was quite shocking too. When I started my staff number was 271X, when I left three years later they were up in the 5XXX's.

Laptops and big screen TV's were more important, even though the margins were tiny compared to that of components and wire etc.

Seemed to cooinside with when all the NZ buyers and HO staff were made redundant and opporations were run from Australia.

Comment by Dunnersfella, on 29-Dec-2011 11:20

Dickies are certainly shedding their 'bits and pieces for the DIY'er' moniker.
The thing is, they still don't have the biggest / best range of laptops, tablets or TV's. Their audio selection seems to top out at the woeful Sony Muteki 7.2 thumper...
They're trying to be something to everyone, but in doing so, becoming nothing to most.

Comment by vinnieg, on 29-Dec-2011 13:43

I went in there to get some simple LEDs...they don't sell those other.

Wtf,  seems like Jaycar, Surplustronics or RS-Supplies are the only places to get things these days

Comment by sbiddle, on 29-Dec-2011 14:05

They still sell soldering iron's though - maybe you should buy one and ask who they recommend to buy solder from.

Comment by Skolink, on 29-Dec-2011 23:16

Funny, just had that conversation with someone today after being in a store. Apparently the stores are not called Dick Smith in Australia anymore, but DSE. I guess Dick don't do Christmas over the ditch.

For components that Jaycar don't stock, Element14 (aka Farnell) have free shipping for online orders. Min order $10.

Comment by paradoxsm, on 30-Dec-2011 23:21

Same thing. I went into DSE for some solder 6 months back, nope, not any more but as Stevebiddle said, they still sell the irons, weird.

Comment by bigal_nz, on 31-Dec-2011 02:58

Spectron are also really really good for supplies like solder, wicker, flux and the like.

I doubt they are open again until Jan. They in Penrose.

Comment by LostBoyNZ, on 31-Dec-2011 07:36

Dick Smith (the man himself) sold it to Woolworths (Progressive Enterprises) a while ago now, and they've changed it from being like Jaycar is, to more similar to Noel Leeming.

I can understand why, there's simply more money to be made that way. And selling those little parts often took up a lot of the staff's time and required extra training.

They even changed the name from Dick Smith Electronics to just "Dick Smith" to reflect that change.

Comment by sbiddle, on 1-Jan-2012 02:12

The Woolworths "takeover" isn't a recent thing it happened in 1980.

Comment by raytaylor, on 1-Jan-2012 14:48

I remember being told by a staff member that they could climb the pay scale for completing the training module for the electronics componentry sales.

I suspect they still sell soldering irons as they need to clear their stock.

Quite sad really - Do they still sell the funway kitsets?

Comment by keewee01, on 1-Jan-2012 21:43


I remember David Reid Electronics - I use to frequent the one in Riccarton in the early 90's.

Author's note by sleemanj, on 1-Jan-2012 22:07


Yes I regularly visited the Riccarton DR too.  

And the original DSE in the mall; I remember the fire damage sale well, although I was a bit late for the bargains but did pick up some odds and ends.

Fun times.

Comment by johnr, on 2-Jan-2012 08:43

I remember David Reid electronics in New Market / Takapuna oh those were the days!

Comment by ajobbins, on 2-Jan-2012 18:19

Definitely still called Dick Smith here in Oz (Just got to and see what the page shows and what URL it redirects to). Dick did Chrismas here too.

Comment by Wob, on 4-Jan-2012 19:09

How sad is this: I actually worked part time in the Dunedin David Reid store (age showing blatantly here!!)

DSE over here in Aus are just an amalgamation of a cell phone shop, Harvey Norman Electrical and EB Games - they don't even sell many gadgets.

I echo the sentiment "Thank goodness for Jaycar" - excellent gadgets for any self-respecting geek.

Comment by mattwnz, on 5-Jan-2012 14:19

Perhaps many people now buy overseas from sites such as dealextreme

Comment by LookingUp, on 6-Jan-2012 12:33

If they're interested in selling anything at all they need to get their website sorted.  It was down yesterday when I looked, and is either still down or down again 24hrs later.  I often use it to check if they have what I'm after before I trundle down to the shop to find they no longer stock basic electronic gear.

JCar or the Internet is the only option these days... :-(

Author's note by sleemanj, on 6-Jan-2012 13:34


DSE website working for me - perhaps a problem your end/ISP

Comment by SepticSceptic, on 23-Jan-2012 17:05

Looks like Dick Smith is really in its death throes ...

Woolworths to start closing Dick Smith Stores:

Comment by Paul, on 2-Nov-2012 00:15

Coming to this discussion a bit late, but it is interesting. I worked in Reid's Hamilton and Rotorua for about 3 years in the late 80's early 90's. I walked into the Hamilton Jaycar store a couple of months ago - it was like stepping back in time. Lots of loose components and weird gadgets. My old boss at the Hamilton store used to send us down to the local DSE shop to see how NOT to serve customers!

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