By Marcus Leach

Best Buy Europe, the joint venture between Carphone Warehouse Group plc and Best Buy Co., Inc. have announced its intention to focus its capital investment and ‘connectivity’ strategy on its small box Carphone Warehouse stores and to close its Best Buy branded big box stores in the UK.

Best Buy Europe’s strategy is built around the central theme of ‘connectivity’ and an evolving Carphone Warehouse store format to deliver a great customer experience within this exciting technological space.

A key component of this has been the development of its ‘Wireless World’ store format, which provides a wider range of connected devices and a higher level of service than traditional Carphone Warehouse stores. These stores have delivered compelling returns and have been exceptionally well received by customers.

Since 2008, the consumer electronics marketplace has changed substantially as a result of the economic times, the progress of online retailing and the growth of new products such as smartphones, tablets and apps.

Best Buy Europe believes that its ‘connectivity’ strategy should be prioritised within Carphone Warehouse because it offers a superior rate of return on capital investment and is best placed to meet the future needs of customers.

With this refocus in strategy, the company will now be able to accelerate the roll-out of its ‘Wireless World’ stores and the enhancement of its online and mobile commerce platforms. Furthermore, it will look to integrate capabilities and product ranges from the Best Buy business into this format.

At the same time, a consultation on the closure of its Best Buy branded stores will start with all Best Buy team members. Best Buy Europe is confident it will be able to redeploy the large majority of those affected within other areas of its business. The intention is to complete the closure of these stores by the end of the calendar year.

“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," Andrew Harrison, CEO of Best Buy Europe, said.

"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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