The new Best Buy store in Hayes needs to be rather more than simply good-looking.

Having spent the day on which Price William and Kate Middleton became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shuttling around looking at shops, it was easy to be objective about Best Buy’s new Hayes store because there was nobody around to spoil the view.

The same, by the way was true of almost every store visited that morning – the royal wedding really did trump the retail trade on April 29. What was interesting, apart from the massive cinema screen on which Best Buy staff were busy watching the wedding however, was how little the US technology retailer seemed to have done to alter its game since making its UK debut in Thurrock last year. 

Indeed, other than the absence of the ‘green’ area at the front of the store, which was such a feature of Thurrock, you could have been in Essex rather than Heathrow’s hinterland. This is curious as, to put it mildly, results have not been quite as anticipated at UK Best Buy and you might have thought that the Hayes store would, in some measure, reflect a need for reflection as far as both product mix and design are concerned.

Perhaps it does, but it was hard to see where and if it’s not obvious, then it probably won’t be to the great mass of those walking into the store. Yet curiously, when you walk into this one you can’t help but rather like it. The store interior remains better than some of its competitors and the staff remain resolutely friendly and on message.

Why therefore has it failed to strike the kind of chord that may observers thought might be the case when it made UK landfall in 2010? The plain fact is that it’s probably because most of what’s on offer is broadly the same as what’s in place elsewhere in terms of brands and pricing. And the reason that the Thurrock store was so busy initially was that Best Buy decided to offer Toshiba TVs at an almost giveaway price for the opening – it would have been rude to refuse. Now that that has gone, it would appear that people are going with the retail brands that they know – which must be both a feather in the cap and something of a relief to Dixons.

What it does show is the power of retail brands and as Dixons remains the UK Big Brother, it is the default choice. Best Buy has good-looking shops, but needs to answer that question that every retailer has to deal with: ‘give me a reason to come into your shop’.