Best Buy delays UK roll out

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The Independent Online

The opening of the first Best Buy stores in the UK has been delayed until the first quarter of next year.

Best Buy Europe, the joint venture between the US electricals giant and Carphone Warehouse, had been expected to unveil its first UK store this year, but it will now open four to five stores in quick succession early next year. Best Buy Europe has also hired deVere Forster, the former head of e-commerce at rival DSGi. The retailer declined to comment.

The revelation about its delayed opening came on the same day that DSGi, the owner of Currys and PC World, unveiled its blueprint to turnaround the struggling pan European electricals group and combat the threat from Best Buy Europe.

It is understood that Best Buy Europe believes that a launch early next year will maximise the impact on customers and its struggling rivals, which also include Comet. Best Buy Europe has also gone for a delayed - but rapid - roll out because better sites are becoming available during the downturn and to boost the launch of its e-commerce operation around the same time. It has also emerged that deVere Forster, who recently left DSGi, will join Best Buy Europe in a senior e-commerce role soon.

Yesterday, DSGi said it had been encouraged by the performance of its new format Currys and PC World stores, which have surpassed expectations. The pan-European electricals group plans to open a further five Currys Megastores by the end of this calendar year, following the successful launch of its store near Birmingham. DSGi plans to spend up to £320m on capital expenditure projects over the next two years, of which store refurbishments will account for a large chunk. Its renewal and transformation programme is on track to deliver a 3 - 4 per cent return on sales.