Best Buy to close all UK stores, buy out mobile partner for $1.3 billion

By on November 7, 2011, 2:30 PM

Best Buy Europe, a joint venture between US group Best Buy and the UK’s Carphone Warehouse, will be closing all 11 Best Buy stores in the UK. The duo originally planned to open 100 Best Buy stores across the UK and Europe when the first store opened less than two years ago.

Best Buy purchased a 50 percent share of Carphone Warehouse’s retail operations for $2.1 billion in 2008. The plan was to use the joint venture to gain ground in the European market and improve brand recognition.

The 11 stores are located in Liverpool, Bristol, Derby, Rotherham, Nottingham, Dudley, Southampton, Thurrock, Croydon, Enfield and Hayes. The outlets are being shut down because they haven’t been profitable yet. This is largely to blame on weak consumer spending, low brand recognition and increased competition from other electronics retailers in the area. Best Buy Europe will now focus on selling goods from over 800 existing Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK and more than 1,600 Phone House outlets in continental Europe.

In related news, Best Buy has also announced that they will be buying out Carphone Warehouse’s share of Best Buy Mobile in the United States and Canada. Best Buy Mobile has seen increased profits thanks to soaring demand for smartphones in recent years. The deal between the two is worth 1.3 billion which is more than Carphone Warehouse was valued at when it split from TalkTalk last year.

"For Best Buy to be able to no longer have to share 50 percent of the profits of a high-margin, fast-growing business with Carphone Warehouse, from my perspective, is a real positive," said BB&T Capital Markets analyst Anthony Chukumba.

User Comments: 14

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Guest said:

...USA stores are next

Guest said:

With great online stores like Newegg and TigerDirect, Best Buy is pretty much no longer relevant. ;)

Guest said:

i agree with the other person aswell its a shame to see such a long standing company crumble

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

i agree with the other person aswell its a shame to see such a long standing company crumble

It's not a shame. Bestbuy and Future Shop are stores that are only interested in selling you the most expensive product to make the most money. Actually helping the consumer is placed well behind making big profits.

Good riddance you buggers.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Princeton is right. It's sad to see jobs go away but this is not a big loss for consumers. There are better, well established business already available to fill any need of former best buy customers.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I don't know. Sure BB doesn't always get you great prices on computer hardware, but they are pretty damn good at other things. They can sell you CDs for less than $10, Blugays for about that, they'll install speakers into your car, there is a lot of things that BB does/offers that an online shop can't.

I do not buy much of anything from BB, but I do recognize that they hold some clout in the electronics field. Maybe we don't need BB to install a vid card for us, maybe we don't need them to install a 1000W amp into our (your) ricer, but there is a market for that, and bb is serving it. It just appears they aren't profitable in the UK. Maybe the same will happen here, but they've existed this long, and it wasn't just luck.

Lurker101 said:

Best Buy has never been relevant in the UK. I don't think I've even seen a Best Buy store in the north of England, let alone been in one.

caravel said:

With great online stores like Newegg and TigerDirect, Best Buy is pretty much no longer relevant. ;)

Indeed part of the problem, but nowhere near the whole problem...

I think the current world economic situation is a bigger factor in this. When people are short of cash, they think twice before buying/upgrading consumer electronics.

princeton princeton said:

mattfrompa said:

Princeton is right. It's sad to see jobs go away but this is not a big loss for consumers. There are better, well established business already available to fill any need of former best buy customers.

God dammit. Now I feel bad that people are losing their jobs.

Guest said:

Having formerly worked for Best Buy for over 3 years at 3 different stores, I can tell you if you think that all BBY tries to do is sell you the most expensive thing they can is totally false.

First of all, BBY employees have not been on commission since the 90's (at least in the US) so if they are pressuring you to buy the biggest/best thing they have, it's either because the general manager of that store is pressuring them to hit budget or their supervisor or the assistant managers trained them very poorly. This was never the case in any of the stores I worked in, the GM's were all extremely nice and we usually ended up giving lower-than-cost sales and superb service to a very high percentage of our customers which earned all three stores 4.5 - 5 star ratings.

Secondly, the greater majority of people still like to test products "hands on" before they purchase them. Because let's be realistic, all the pictures and specifications in the world aren't able to have you experience the texture, weight and feel of a product in your own hands. Also, let's say for instance you are getting a D-SLR camera, is a couple reviews on a website and reading the specs going to be able to let you try out the menu system, play with the settings or experience the way the camera takes pictures before you actually purchase it? That saves A LOT of time not having to request returns, waiting for them to send return shipping materials to you, sending it back, and waiting for your refund only to do it again on another product, what a waste of time!

Lastly, I think this world's economy is in enough bad shape as it is. Shutting down a company that employees over 150,000 people world wide, yeah, there goes the unemployment rate up some more.

So think twice before you so narrow mindedly say "good riddance" to a company like Best Buy, they aren't money hungry commissioned sales people like Art Van or ABC Warehouse; and if they are pressuring you for a sale, keep in mind it's probably bad management at that one store so don't let it deter you from going there.

Guest said:

Best Buy sucks so I'm glad to see the UK is wise enough to see it and not use them.

Pricing Example from US web sites: 2 Meter HDMI Cable

Best Buy: $24.99

Amazon: $1.72

Newegg: $2.94

Walmart: $9.88

Sears: $12.99

Online retailers quite cheap, but even Walmart and Sears are 1/2 the price of Best Buy.

DokkRokken said:

BB needs a reinvention. On too many occasions, employees were unhelpful or just plain rude. Occasionally, you find the one guy who knows everything and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure what you're buying will just work the way you want it to. It's a shame he gets paid similarly to the ones who just gossip to each other with their backs to the clientele.

I'd really like to see the company change its focus and pay much more attention to customer satisfaction. If BB were to lower the size of its massive stores, cut some dead weight, and increase the salaries, they'd see a rise in applicants that care about customers than just making sales.

Let's face it, online sales are threatening brick and mortar's. But considering the Boomer population has all the money, BB still has an opportunity to survive. Boomer's prefer the 'old school' format and value CS more than the younger folks. If BB makes the effort, its fortunes won't be as dire.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

trained them very poorly.

All I need is that one snippet of info. That one statement defines every Best Buy I have ever visited in my entire life. Maybe it's different in the US, but every Canadian Bestbuy or Future shop is filled with useless workers. If you're working the cellular section you should be able to memorize the specs of every single device you sell. If you work with computers you should be able to remember which processors certains ones have, what their resolution is, and how much storage it has.

I work for Bell Canada and not only can I tell you the specifications for every phone and modem we sell without checking any information, but I can name you the subsidy you get for the different yearly contracts and I can tell you the average speeds you'll get with that device in the KW area.

In contrast the workers at the Best Buys and Future Shops that I've visited in Kitchener,Toronto,Cambridge,Edmonton,Vancouver and Calgary all need to refer to things like spec sheets printed on the price tags of a product. If I wanted to wait to go and check the specs on the tags, I would have done it myself. Even worse is when they have to call over senior workers to help them do their jobs.

I'd feel bad about a lot of people losing their jobs, except a large portion are not even remotely qualified to do those jobs.

Guest said:

You sir obviously drank the koolaid at morning meetings. I worked as a Geek Squad agent for 4 years and I can tell everyone here that you are mistaken.Yes, the employee's do not work on commission but that in no way means they are trying to take you for every penny you are worth. Best Buy employees are trained to sell you what they(Best Buy Corporate) thinks is best. Their selling method is called "Best, Better, Good."

Ex. Guy walks in to buy a new TV to replace his old one. All he does is watch cable news or play Wii when his grand kids come over.

The blue shirt(best buy employee) shows him an HDTV. Then explains all the cool stuff about having one. If the guy seems interested he also tries selling him a bluray player, HDMI cables, AV receiver, Logitech remote, Bluray movies, and a Geek Squad Black Tie Protection Plan(Warranty).

If the guy declines than the accessories are stripped away. Then the Bluray player. Then the best buy employee tries to "save the sale" and keep the guy interested in at least the TV. If that fails then he'll point the guy to the TV he actually wanted to begin with.

Why all the song and dance to sell a man something he didn't come in to buy when they don't make commission on sales? The answer: they do! You see best buy employees don't make commission on each sale. They make it when each department makes budget. They make more if they go over budget. They get it every year after the holidays, right after Physical Inventory. A tactic to make sure all the employees stay on after Christmas to work PI. Moreover if the the store has been making budget ALL of the managers get bonuses. The general manager most of all. He gets bonuses for all kinds of things really. We had one agent who hadn't been to work in over 2 months but was still on the schedule. Why? GM was trying to keep his employee turnover bonus.

Make no mistake about it. Best Buy is there to make money. If they help you along the way its a happy accident. With Best Buy and any other retailer, do your homework before going in to buy something.

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