US electricals retailer Best Buy will adopt the best practices of retail giants Tesco and Boots when it debuts in the UK next year.
Best Buy International chief executive Bob Willett said the appointment of Scott Wheway, the former managing director of Boots the Chemist who previously spent 20 years at Tesco, as Best Buy International chief operating officer will provide vital experience to drive Best Buy’s international strategy.
Willett told Retail Week: “With Scott’s combination of experience with Tesco – one of the greatest retailers in the world – and Boots, which is more customer-centric, he brings the right chemistry.”
Wheway, who will spend several months in the US before starting his UK-based role, will be responsible for operations in Canada, China, Mexico and Turkey as well as Europe. Willett said that Wheway will focus on the execution of the retailer’s operations. “One of the things that Tesco do is good retail operations,” he said. “It means that I can accelerate our services strategy – especially in the UK, both online and in stores by the time we open next year.”
Best Buy entered into a retail joint venture with Carphone Warehouse a year ago to open its big-box electricals stores in the UK from spring next year. Willett said: “Having just made a bn [£1.25bn] investment, this is a chance for me to put more strength on the ground.”
Despite the 50:50 joint venture with Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy is understood to be driving the strategy behind the venture including control over the board, budget and capital spend. Willett said that Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy work “in tandem”.
Wheway will report to Willett, who has relinquished his role as Best Buy International’s chief information officer to Neville Roberts. Sean Skelley has been promoted to president, international operations and will report to Wheway.
Wheway’s hiring pits two former Tesco executives – him and DSGi’s John Browett – against each other in the battle for the electricals market.