Carphone looks to Europe


Carphone Warehouse has announced its £90 milllion expansion strategy for its joint venture with US electronics retailer Best Buy with plans to open up to 100 stores by 2013.

The venture, which is now known as Best Buy Europe, plans to open four or five stores in the UK next year with potentially more before the 2013 date.

Best Buy Europe stores will act as a separate entity to Carphone and carry their own branding, selling electronics goods from televisions to washing machines as well as mobiles.

“We believe that Europe is a highly attractive market for consumer electronics retailing,” said Carphone chief executive officer Charles Dunstone. “Market growth is forecast to be strong, but the customer experience is often poor and we intend to introduce a differentiated proposition with a strong emphasis on service.

“In addition, we will focus primarily on larger stores of 30,000 square feet or more, where the overall economics are typically more attractive than for smaller stores.

“We believe that investing in our business, people and proposition now is money well spent: consumer electronics retailing should be a vibrant, interactive and service-led experience for customers and our goal is to deliver exactly this.”

Carphone also released its results for Q2 trading revealing a rise in market share as it shaved its margins as economic worries dominated.

Total connections rose nine per cent to 3.1 million while subscription connections were up 21 per cent to 1.3 million.

“Trading in the second quarter was good,” added Dunstone. “As we continued to invest in margin to drive strong volume growth, and we made significant market share gains as a result. Subscription growth has been excellent, and the decline in the rate of pre-pay growth is to be expected given the wider consumer environment.”

Broadband business didn’t live up to expectations with 35,000 new customers falling short of the forecasts of around 45,000. The shortfall is blamed on the slow down in the housing market, although Caphone has reported a rise in the number of customers connected directly to their network rather than BT, which produce higher profits.