Best Buy’s fledgling big box business lost £62.2m in its first full year of operating in the UK, joint venture partner Carphone Warehouse reported.
The retailer is now evaluating the performance and potential of the division, launched with great fanfare in spring 2010.
There were six big box stores trading by the end of Carphone’s financial year on March 31 and four have opened since then. There had been speculation ahead of Carphone’s results that the plug would be pulled on the sheds.
But the retailer said: “We are delighted with the customer feedback. Following this launch period we are in the process of evaluating the next steps in our multi-format/multichannel consumer electronics strategy.”
Despite the big boxes’ losses Carphone, which runs the Best Buy UK business in partnership with the eponymous US electricals giant, posted a surge in group profits.
Group EBIT rocketed 67% to £63.3m, helped by the strong performance of its Best Buy Mobile chain in the US which generated a share of profits up 111% to £97.9m.
Best Buy Europe – comprising the Carphone Warehouse and Phone house chains, Best Buy UK and the share in Best Buy Mobile in the US – posted sales up 1.2% to £3.57bn and Carphone Warehouse Europe’s EBIT advanced 18% to £134.6m.
Carphone Warehouse chief executive Roger Taylor said: “This has been a year of considerable success for the group, during which our businesses have made impressive progress.”
The retailer expects Carphone Warehouse Europe’s like-for-like sales in the current year to be between 2% up and 2% down.