Best Buy Europe Launches UK Online Shop Despite £29m Loss

Jonathan Sutton

Best Buy Europe – a retail project jointly owned by US consumer electronics merchant Best Buy and UK-based mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse – has signalled its intention to grab more market share in the United Kingdom’s electronic retail landscape by launching an e-commerce platform this week, even as the subsidiary group incurred a £29 million loss for the six months to 30th of September this year.

All the tech products (including flat-screen HDTV sets) and services found in Best Buy retail outlets throughout the UK will be available at the same price on the newly launched web store. The online shop will also offer some exclusive items and discounts that cannot be picked up in the company’s brick-and-mortar stores.

The web shop comes with a price promise – customers who manage to find a stocked item at a lower price will be eligible for a price match plus a refund of 10% of the difference between Best Buy’s price and the cheaper price. However, there are a couple of catches: Best Buy will only price match a limited number of competitors such as PC World, Comet, Currys, Argos and John Lewis. Also, the company’s price match policy specifically excludes promotional or sales offers, which drastically reduces the potential savings.

UK customers will receive free delivery when buying from the website. They can also choose to take advantage of the Reserve and Collect option where they can reserve a product at their nearest local store, and pick up the item within an hour of being notified (either by SMS text or email) that it’s ready for collection.

Best Buy Europe posted an operating loss of £29 million for the six months ending 30th of September according to Carphone Warehouse’s latest interim results, with the full-year losses estimated to reach between £50 and £55 million. Unconcerned, the group put the loss down to first-year startup and launch costs with a significant sum of once-off investments in retail and online infrastructure.