Best Buy Europe, the joint venture responsible for The Carphone Warehouse brand, plans to close its eleven so-called ‘Big Box’ Best Buy stores in the UK within the next two months.
In addition, the Carphone Warehouse Group is planning to end its American profit-sharing agreement by selling its interest in Best Buy Mobile US and Canada back to Best Buy. This will give it an upfront payment of £813 million ($1,303 million) and annual consulting payments of £5 million over the following 5 years.
A new formal agreement will give Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy the opportunity to buy their partner’s 50% stake in Best Buy Europe from May 2015.
Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse have also agreed to form a new venture called Global Connect to look at worldwide opportunities for the companies.
Roger Taylor, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, said “Our overall vision remains the same: to inspire and guide customers through the Connected World and the increasingly complex areas of technology that this represents. We intend to pursue this vision on an increasingly global basis. In the UK and in Europe, we have a vibrant success story in CPW Europe and a proven way forward to meet consumers’ demand for the Connected World in our stores. We will now look to accelerate the development of these stores even further by taking its proven format to the next level and incorporating an even wider range of connected devices. The eleven Best Buy UK ‘Big Box’ stores have performed exceptionally at the level of customer satisfaction, but they do not have the national reach to achieve scale and brand economies. Due to the lack of visibility of an acceptable rate of return on historical and future potential investment we have decided against rolling out more ‘Big Box’ stores and we will be closing our existing stores, subject to consultation with our employees. Our immediate focus is our people and we are confident that the large majority will be offered alternative positions elsewhere in our UK business.”