Full size retail stores set to roll out in 2009 after ?1.1bn investment in The Carphone Warehouse

Best Buy prepares for UK assault

Best Buy is set for a massive expansion into the UK and the rest of Europe next year, following a deal with The Carphone Warehouse that will see it acquire 50 per cent of its European and US retail interests for £1.1 billion.

A spokesperson for The Carphone Warehouse confirmed to PC Retail that the UK would see full scale Best Buy stores opening in 2009.

The move will be spearheaded by a roll out of the Best Buy brand in Europe according to the firm’s international CEO and chief information officer Bob Willett.

"We’ve been successful with our business model and aspire to apply that model to one of the largest markets in the world," Willett said. He was, however, keen to stress that the firm would not be diving in at the deep-end when it came to expanding into Europe.

"We must do so carefully and with humility. We have seen great companies fail because they thought they could simply export their current business model to new geographies.

"We intend to plan our European entry strategy carefully, focused on customer needs, and with on-the-ground help from our trusted partner, The Carphone Warehouse," he added.

It was a point echoed by The Carphone Warehouse’s CEO Charles Dunstone: "Best Buy brings demonstrable expertise in merchandising, sourcing and customer service: that should help us accelerate the evolution of our business.

"We bring local knowledge, infrastructure and the expertise in linking services to product," added Dunstone. "That should help [Best Buy] push into larger format consumer electronics retailing in Europe."

The deal will also see Best Buy move into small format retailing in the US. The firm is planning on bringing The Carphone Warehouse’s significant expertise in that format to its core US operations. The move is likely to be in response to rival Circuit City’s launch of smaller retail format The City.

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