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Best Buy Entering Europe Next Summer

Chicago — Best Buy plans to open about 100 of its big-box stores in Europe over the next five years, with the first locations to open in the United Kingdom next summer.

Roger Taylor, chief financial officer of Best Buy’s European partner The Carphone Warehouse, told Reuters that three or four large-format stores will open in Great Britain over the summer, and that most of the “hundred or so” European stores will be located in the U.K.

Plans also call for an online presence in continental Europe within the next one to two years, and the first Best Buy stores there before March 2013.

Taylor was in Chicago today along with other executives from both CE chains to unveil their initial plans for Best Buy Europe, the companies’ jointly owned European retail operation.

In a statement, Carphone Warehouse CEO Charles Dunstone said the new company plans to double its sales and operating income by March 2013 by leveraging Best Buy’s 30,000-square-foot big-box format, which generates larger returns than smaller stores, and its customer centricity operating model, which the partners described as Best Buy’s “secret sauce.”

“We believe that Europe is a highly attractive market for consumer electronics retailing,” he said. “Market growth is forecast to be strong, but the customer experience is often poor and we intend to introduce a differentiated proposition with a strong emphasis on service.”

The partners hope to capture 10 percent of Europe’s CE market.

The executives added that Best Buy Mobile, the partner’s first joint venture, is generating triple-digit comp-store sales in the United States and has helped more than double Best Buy’s wireless market share to 4 percent, which they hope to ultimately grow to 10 percent of U.S. mobile sales.