Best Buy: Downturn will help UK invasion - PC Retail

Best Buy: Downturn will help UK invasion

Retailer denies slip of European big box store rollout is a sign of weakness, and says UK rivals are ?just trying to plug losses
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Best Buy has insisted that its push into the UK market is well on track, that it is ready to ‘revolutionise’ the country’s retail landscape, and that global economic pressures will mean rivals will be unable to ‘respond aggressively.’

The rollout of its big box retail stores, all of which are expected to be at least 30,000 square feet, has slipped until 2010. Nonetheless, the firm said that Best Buy Europe is already operating through its retail ally The Carphone Warehouse – which is planning to boost the number of large format consumer electronic focused Wireless World stores across the United Kingdom.

“The delay has nothing to do with environment or the performance of Best Buy in the US,” said a spokesperson. “We are already operating as Best Buy Europe. It’s a growth company and has made a profit. Unlike certain other consumer electronic retailers
that made a loss over Christmas, we managed to increase our revenues. We now have a double digit share of the laptop market.”

The firm highlights what it sees as customer dissatisfaction with the UK’s current technology retail offering as key to the success of both the Carphone Warehouse expansion and big box Best Buy stores.

“This is about completely revolutionising the consumer electronics market in the UK. We know that UK customers don’t like the way stores are set out, the level of customer service, and the level of advice that they are getting. We think we can improve on all those areas. Best Buy has a proven track record of that in the US and in some of the other markets around the world.”

On the ability of its rivals to defend their market share, the firm said: “A benefit of the economic climate is that it makes it harder for our competitors to respond in an aggressive fashion. If this were a growth market and they were growth companies, they could make life a lot more difficult for us. But certain other electronic retailers are just trying to plug their losses at the moment. It makes life harder for them.”

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