IF the high street is to survive, it will need to offer the customer service you can’t get online.

That’s the view of Kevin Dawson, whose 92-year-old family business was recently named one of the world’s top retailers of the audio-visual giant Bang & Olufsen.

Dawsons was established by Kevin Dawson’s great-grandfather George. Under Kevin’s father Peter, it became a hi-fi shop in the 1950s.

Today, the bulk of its business is about home cinema – one area where expert service in person is difficult to replicate online. “The one thing I had drilled into me when I first started work was customer service,” said Mr Dawson, who joined the business making tea for his father in 1980.

The business recently invested in a new demonstration room which aims to recreate a domestic setting and show how impressive home cinema can look and sound.

“The push is really not to change your existing TV if it’s relatively new – we can just upgrade the sound,” said Mr Dawson.

“Most people come in saying ‘Do you do a sound bar so we can improve the sound quality?’ That’s really the market we want to capture.”

While TV pictures are bigger and sharper than ever before, the drive to make them look nice has meant the quality of sound that comes out of them can be disappointing.

“The sound on your TV has gone from being quite good from a big cathode ray tube TV, to it being a TV in a little plastic cabinet. You can’t make decent sound with that,” he said.

Couple a modern TV with a high-end sound system, though, and Mr Dawson argues that it can beat the cinema experience – especially when a trip to the multiplex is marred by the drink-slurping and snack-crunching of your fellow cinema-goers.

“I think if you watch a movie at BH2, where it’s got Dolby Atmos with speakers in the ceilings, and then you come in and watch the same movie in our room, you’ll find it’s far more immersive and engaging in our little room,” said Mr Dawson.

He says it takes around four hours to set up a TV, and that customers appreciate having it done by someone who can get it just right, rather than by retailers who just shift stock. “That’s why I think the high street is dying a little,” he said.

Dawsons became the UK’s first Bang & Olufsen dealer in 1964. “Back in those days, my father used to borrow the local florist’s van to go up to London to the distributor and bring the things back to install here,” said Mr Dawson.

B&O became a key part of the company’s offer – as anyone who remembers Tom Baker narrating the Dawsons of Westbourne ads on 2CR-FM in the 1980s will know.

Today, Dawsons comes close behind Selfridges and Harrods among the brand’s dealers. When it was named among the top B&O retailers worldwide, the accolade came with a warm personal letter from chief executive and president Henrik Clausen.

“I don’t think we’ve ever achieved that status before, but we’ve always ranked pretty high,” said Mr Dawson.

“We’ve always been in the UK’s top 20 stores but for the last couple of years we’ve been in the top five.”

As well as custom installations for living rooms, spare rooms, loft spaces and garage conversions, Dawsons has in recent years developed a reputation for fitting out luxury yachts.

“Back in 2006, Sunseeker came to me and said they had a client that wanted Bang & Olufsen on an 82ft yacht and if I got it done quickly enough, it would be displayed at the Southampton Boat Show,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody in the world has done as many yachts as we have. I’ve done over 150 yachts now and they go worldwide.”