Having been one of the most talked about issues in the UK industry for around two years now, Best Buy finally opened the doors to its massive Thurrock flagship store at the end of last month.

American Invasion

The news won’t be welcome to everyone in the retail community here. For smaller independents, the firm’s boasts of top notch customer service will raise alarm bells – and larger chains like DSGi have just as much to lose by the presence of a large, cash-rich chain operating a very similar business model. Indeed, it didn’t take long after the announcement of Best Buy’s intentions on UK soil for speculation to begin whipping round about the possibility of a buyout.

DSGi is certainly liable to be feeling the heat this month, but the situation should really be kept in perspective. So far, Best Buy Europe has only announced the opening of six stores in the UK – albeit big ones – compared with the hundreds DSGi operates through its various brands. Unless things change dramatically, it’s hard to see DSGi being toppled from its throne any time soon. While retail will be keeping a careful eye on the US firm’s megastores, vendors and distributors have come out supporting its arrival, celebrating the growth in competition it is expected to spark (see our story here).

The low-key UK launch of fellow US firm Buy.com in February couldn’t have been more different from Best Buy’s swaggering entrance. The firm is promising to cause a storm in the technology e-tail sector, and like the former, the e-tailer will be looking to solidify its position this year by brokering strong partnerships with vendors and distributors.

But while there may be little for retail to celebrate with the launch of Best Buy, Buy.com has a number of ways smaller retailers can sell within its Marketplace network. Both US firms look set to have significant impact on the UK retail and e-tail scene in very different ways through 2010. How quickly the general public adopts them will dictate to what extent.

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