Belfast Telegraph

Electrical giant pulls plug on UK store deal

Best Buy's UK expansion plans suffered a setback after the American electronics retail giant pulled out of a property deal at the last minute, according to media reports.

The world's largest electricals retailer stirred speculation about its level of commitment to the UK when it withdrew from a deal to open its first store in England's North East, in Team Valley Retail Park, Gateshead.

One property insider told journalists he was surprised by Best Buy's decision to pull out of one of Britain's most sought-after retail parks.

"If you are trying to build a nationwide presence, it would be very surprising not to go there," one property insider remarked.

"It will be in any retailer's list of top performers."

It is understood that Best Buy withdrew from the deal with Land Securities while it was waiting for legal approval.

The newspaper claimed that Best Buy, which opened its first five UK stores in 2010, is well behind its initial target of opening five stores by last Christmas and 80 outlets by 2013.

But Best Buy disputed that it is behind its targets and said it plans to open five more stores in 2011, bringing its total to 11.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: "Our roll-out plans have not changed and we have so far announced five new stores for 2011.

"We are in discussions with a number of property owners about securing a variety of potential store locations and markets across the UK.

"We will provide further updates as and when we can confirm agreed stores."

Best Buy announced two years ago that it was coming to the UK in a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse which it promised would revolutionise the market by introducing American levels of customer service.

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