Carphone Warehouse pulls plug on Best Buy stores in the UK

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Retailer will focus on selling range of electronics through Carphone Warehouse “Wireless World” stores

The 11 Best Buy-branded stores in the UK will close by the end of the year to allow Carphone Warehouse to focus on its own-brand retail operation.

In a statement, Carphone said that the Best Buy Europe joint venture, set up with US retailer Best Buy in 2008, would now focus on deploying its “connectivity” strategy through Carphone Warehouse retail stores.

The Best Buy “big box” stores are situated mainly in the South East and the midlands. The joint venture has reportedly failed to make a profit.

As part of the decision, Carphone Warehouse said it would accelerate the roll out of its “Wireless World” store format, which is designed to offer a wider range of products and improved customer service.

Best Buy “product ranges and capabilities” will be integrated into Carphone Warehouse stores, said the firm.

Carphone said that it  is launching a consultation on the closures, and believes it will be able to redeploy the majority of the more than 1,000 staff employed in the operation elsewhere.

Best Buy Europe CEO Andrew Harrison (pictured) said: “After conducting a thorough strategic review of our operations, we believe that our capital investment and ‘connectivity’ strategy should be prioritised within our Carphone Warehouse stores as they offer a higher and proven rate of return.

“The technology world has changed substantially since 2008 and we are confident we will best serve our customers by investing in a single brand and format rather than two.

“We are very proud of our Best Buy team members.  They have been exceptionally committed and have delivered fantastic customer service. Our immediate focus is on ensuring that they are offered new opportunities within Carphone Warehouse and Geek Squad, where they will help us deliver a best-in-class customer experience.

“We have within Carphone Warehouse a proven way of meeting customers’ emerging needs around connectivity.  We will now concentrate on evolving our store development and building the complementary multi-channel capabilities to fuel our continued growth.”

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