Best Buy Europe has introduced the Carphone Warehouse brand into one of its big-box stores for the first time.
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Best Buy has allocated about 1,200 sq ft of space at its newly opened shop in Hayes, Middlesex, grouping products such as mobile phones under the Carphone banner but staffed by Best Buy blueshirts.
The test will also be replicated in its Derby store. Although the big boxes are part of the Best Buy Europe joint venture between Carphone and the eponymous US electricals giant, until now the two brands have been kept separate.
It is understood there has been long-standing internal debate about the extent to which the brands should be kept distinct given Carphone’s high brand recognition and the small number of Best Buy big boxes so far.
Customer reaction will be gauged before a decision is made on whether to roll the test out.
Other changes at Hayes include more appliances, the more prominent location of video games and a greater sense of theatre at the front of the store.
Best Buy, which has eight big-boxes at present, aims to take on electricals market incumbents Dixons and Comet in a tough market.
On Wednesday Comet-parent Kesa reported that like-for-likes had plunged 15.2% in the final quarter to April 30 and chief executive Thierry Falque-Pierrotin expects like-for-likes to remain negative in the coming year.
He described the UK as “the toughest market in Europe” both in macro-economic terms and in electricals retail as a result of the intensity of competition, overspacing and the shift to online.
He said that Comet is highly regarded by customers but needs to educate those who do not shop there. “Communicating the differentiation of Comet is key,” he said. He is expected to reveal how he intends to do that at next month’s prelims.
- Dixons, owner of the PC World and Currys chains, has begun the full roll-out of its Knowhow service business into stores and has launched a standalone, transactional website for the business – Knowhow.com.