Best Buy Begins Mobile Build-Out

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Minneapolis - Best Buy has begun rolling out the first of 40 new Best Buy Mobile stores planned for this year.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the retailer will limit their size to 1,200 square feet and will locate the stores exclusively in shopping malls.

Best Buy Mobile president Shawn Score told the paper that malls will deliver "a whole new customer" that doesn't frequent Best Buy's flagship superstores, format tests showed.

The company had opened 39 freestanding locations of varying size in six cities over the past three years, and completed the rollout of Best Buy Mobile departments to each of its flagship stores last year.

The Mobile business, operated with British partner Carphone Warehouse, has helped Best Buy boost its market share in wireless to 3 percent, while plans call for the company to quintuple its share to 15 percent, CEO Brian Dunn recently told the Wall Street Journal.

The first of the 40 planned stores opened in Dallas over the weekend, and additional launches are slated for Boston, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.

In other Best Buy news, the company's Geek Squad services unit is six months into a test of providing computer support and repairs remotely. According to Bloomberg News, about two dozen Geek Squad "agents" are presently helping customers fix IT-related problems from their own homes. Another 18 more may join the remote-support test next month, when the services menu could expand to include TV and home-theater assistance.

In a related development, hhgregg said it will begin offering in-store PC support for customers by late November. The company, which recently added notebook and netbook computers to its assortment, will initially provide PC setup service, and will add wireless home network set-up and support services next year, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Elsewhere, Best Buy has won local planning commission approval to build its first wind turbine at a retail store. According to the Eden Prairie News, the vertical axis turbine would be mounted on the side of a Best Buy store located in its former headquarters town of Eden Prairie, Minn.


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