BEST-BUY SCALES DOWN UK PLANS

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BEST-BUY SCALES DOWN UK PLANS

 user 2009-05-15 at 3:08:00 pm Views: 53
  • #22061

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9f40f0d4-3a9f-11de-8a2d-00144feabdc0.html
    Best-Buy scales down UK plans
    Best Buy, the US electricals group, is scaling down plans to open 100 large consumer electronics stores in the UK by 2013, the head of its international operations has revealed.Robert Willett, chief executive of Best Buy International, said the joint venture with Carphone Warehouse was more likely to open about 80 “big box” stores in the UK by this time.He denied this represented a retrenchment for the US retailer, which has already postponed its assault on the UK from this summer to spring next year.Mr Willett said that if rivals believed Best Buy was getting cold feet “then they are creating a false sense of security for themselves”.

    Instead, the more moderate roll-out of the large stores reflected the continued growth of online demand for electronics, together with the success of a trial of smaller-format Wireless World stores.”We still look to have the same impact on the market . . . but we are going about it in a multi-channel, multiformat strategy,” he said.The joint venture plans to open between one and five “big box” stores in the UK next spring and has already secured sites at between a third and a half of what the property would have cost 18 months ago. It will also open a “material number” of Wireless World stores.However, Mr Willett acknowledged that the economic downturn was playing a part in the moderation.

    It was possible Best Buy could step up the pace if the UK stores were well received. Mr Willett said: “Best Buy opens 100 [stores] a year in the US, so we know how to open 100 a year. Getting to that 100 is not a problem. It is still an ambition, but it really depends on how well the pilot goes.”* Carphone Warehouse has made an informal offer of £250m for the UK broadband assets of Tiscali, the Italian telecoms company.People familiar with the situation said a deal could be unveiled as soon as this week, although they cautioned the proposed acquisition could still fall apart.A deal would make Carphone Britain’s second largest broadband supplier.