Best Buy to start shutting stores

 

Best Buy will start closing down its UK stores on Sunday after throwing in the towel in its battle to shake up the UK electronics market.

The 11 "big box" shops were created after independent mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse joined forces with US group Best Buy in May 2008 in a bid to take on electronics giants such as Dixons Retail.

But after losses of £46.7 million in the six months to September, the £1.1 billion joint venture was forced to admit that its attempt to blend competitive prices and American-style customer service had failed to woo UK shoppers.

Best Buy Europe said it was confident that it would be able to "redeploy" its 1,100 Best Buy employees elsewhere in its Carphone Warehouse or technical support business Geek Squad, and claimed the relationship between Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy remained "very strong".

A spokesman said: "We remain committed to working with our Best Buy employees to ensure they find suitable positions within other areas of our business.

"They are very talented people and we are very confident that we will redeploy the large majority of those affected.

"Our relationship with Best Buy remains very strong and they retain their 50% share in our business."

A consumer spending squeeze has led to a substantial drop in demand for TVs, video consoles and computers, and increased competition from supermarket chains has also put a dent in the profits of electronics retailers.

In November struggling electricals chain Comet was sold for a token £2 by owner Kesa Electricals while Dixons also issued a profit warning last year.

The Best Buy stores are now reportedly being eyed up by supermarket group Morrisons as possible locations for its Kiddicare brand.

PA

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