BEST-BUY SCALES DOWN UK PLANS

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BEST-BUY SCALES DOWN UK PLANS

 user 2009-05-15 at 3:08:36 pm Views: 59
  • #21958
    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.