Best Buy eyeing 30 stores

Cites John Lewis as its main competition, not DSGi ? feels UK can support 130 stores at most
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Cites John Lewis as its main competition, not DSGi ? feels UK can support 130 stores at most

Best Buy has said that it is looking at opening up as many as 30 stores in the UK, but warned that the date the first will open is still up in the air and may even further into 2010.

Speaking to the Observer, Best Buy International's chief executive Bob Willett said that the firm was not about to rush into the market. Echoing comments the firm recently told PC Retail, Willett said the firm was taking its time with negotiating its retail contracts.

According to Willett, the firm has already managed to sign deals up to 30 per cent below its original estimates, as landlords struggle to find businesses to take rent recession hit premises such as out of town shopping centres.

However, the Willett was also quick to brush off scepticism about the firm going into what has been described as a mature market during the middle of a recession. "I understand the level of scepticism, and that's healthy, but DSG is the wrong comparison," says Willett. Throwing down the gauntlet to John Lewis, he added: "This is a mature market – but that's an advantage because, John Lewis aside, no one provides customer service. We think we will grow the market."

Willett also alluded to the maximum amount of stores the firm would be opening in the UK: "Up to a third of our business will be done on the web, so you don't need hundreds of stores," he says. "There are 130 main towns in this country. It's inconceivable that you'd need more [stores] than that and the likelihood is it will be a lot less."

He also alluded to the potential of the firm bringing over some of its other major brands, such as Canada's FutureShop and AV specialist Magnolia, which could present serious concerns for major UK chains such as Richer Sounds, Maplins and Jessops.