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Former CEO explains how Dreams went from nightmare to fantasy

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Former CEO explains how Dreams went from nightmare to fantasy

In 2013, Mike Logue joined Dreams after it had been saved from administration – he explains how data and communication rebuilt the business

Clare McDonald

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Published: 10 Jun 2022 16:00

Listen, plan, communicate, and listen again – that’s how Mike Logue, former CEO of Dreams, said he took the retailer from a company that had “gone bust” to one that sold for “£533m”.

Speaking at the Retail Tech Show 2022, Logue said that when he joined the company in 2013, one of the first things he did was to figure out why it had gone into administration, what needed changing, and how he would go about it.

While some people warned him he was an “old-school” retailer with limited experience in digital, he joked that he wasn’t “going to make it any worse”.

“I could only take it in one direction.” he said.

The retailer had received £54m from an investment fund, putting the pressure on Logue for a quick upswing in revenue to please investors.

Realising the businesses was suffering not because of a lack of financial availability, but because of a drop in sales and profit, Logue began to develop a plan.

“What do you do when you’re the CEO of a business that’s in administration?” he said. “I go and listen to the people who know what they’re talking about, I go out and listen to the colleagues and I try and find ways to talk to as many customers as possible. If you gather all the comments around and you filter it down, you really find your strategy.”

Logue said there were a few things that were representative of why the business was underperforming – the first was signs in the car park for executive parking. Logue said he had these removed straight away, because he wanted a “followship”, not a dictatorship.

The second things was a chest of drawers that had remained unsold in a store for eight years – a two-drawer chest with one drawer missing, reduced from £59 to £49.

With little time to prove that the businesses could improve, Logue utilised technology to ensure he could gather as much data as possible.

For gathering employee opinions, Dreams used Denison Consulting to survey staff, and Logue said the survey “told me quite a lot just by how many people completed it – 51% – that’s not very engaged, is it, if you can’t even get feedback from your colleagues”.

Pillow Talk

Externally, Dreams worked with Service Management Group (SMG) to develop Pillow Talk, an experience-sharing service though which customers could provide feedback, opinions and data – initially, 30% of customers completed the survey.

“A bit of tech, actually quite smart tech as it turned out, to gather as many customers’ feedback as possible and respond to it as quickly as I could, because the clock was ticking,” said Logue.

This turned Dreams around, said Logue, who called the data “golden” and “game-changing”, not only because it helped to highlight where some of the problems were with the business, but also because feedback directly from customers is more motivational to employees than someone higher up in the company telling them what to do.

Logue devised a plan – to create a better company culture, sell better products, and improve the store and brand experience.

“We listened to the customers, we listened to the colleagues, we analysed that data,” he said. “I’m a pain the ass, I don’t stop – we review, we go back, we review, we go back until we find a solution. And that’s what we did.”  

Monday and Tuesday at the business became meetings-based, filled with “pure data” from customer and colleague feedback – every meeting started with a customer, and later on, digital was always the second element of the meetings.

“I communicated, I listened to the response,” said Logue. “I communicated to colleagues, I communicated to customers, I listened to the data, what was changing, and I communicated again.”

But having a plan and a strategy means nothing without communication, said Logue, who pointed out that unless everyone in the company is filled in, and feeding back, on the strategy, then it will not go anywhere.

Early steps towards success included recruiting an executive team who “love fixing things” to work towards the goal of “improve the brands, improve the shops, improve the website”, said Logue.

Draw in customers better

The brand started to work on marketing to draw in customers better – pointing out that it was not quite accurate to say the company was a “bed specialist” when the company was “bust”. Instead, said Logue, the brand began to focus on giving customers a good night’s sleep, as well as on a new campaign urging people to replace their mattresses every eight years, which led to an increase in sales.

Working with Google, Dreams found out that across one month, of the 20 million people seeing its adverts on TV, 2.2 million ended up searching for a bed and 1.4 million were visiting the Dreams website. Logue admitted to then shifting the focus away from the shops to becoming “a little bit more techy”, because conversion rates on the website were “appalling”.

In 2013, which Logue calls a “lifetime ago digitally”, only 7% of revenue for the business was coming through digital.

Putting communication at the heart of its new digital strategy, he said, colleagues across the entire business were involved in developing a new platform that would cater to customers, as well as conducing A/B testing.

“I wanted everything tested – every button, every colour, every size of button – to push that conversion, push those page views, get the time on the page up,” said Logue.

The firm’s internal culture was another important part of the equation for Logue. When people feel they are part of an inclusive culture where they feel they can be themselves, there is an increase in productivity, creativity and retention, he said, adding that as colleague engagement grew, so did sales.

“Great engagement, great involvement – guess what, it does equal sales and profitability,” he said.

When looking into Dream’s sales, SMG highlighted some of the things that make a huge difference to basket size – greeting people in the right way, offering them a drink at the right time, and offering them a pillow, all of which became part of how customers were treated in stores.

“Quickly on results – what happened at Dreams?” said Logue. “Sales went up 83%, profit moved up £69m, it came from 43% in the stores and digital was seven times, we had 100 million digital sales. Who would have thought that many people would buy a bed digitally?”

He added: “We listened, we understood, we acted, we had great data, we had a plan, we communicated.”





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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one

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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall



The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white



(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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