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Best Buy Takes Manhattan, Again

Best Buy elected to open its second Manhattan store last summer on New York’s Upper East Side, where the space constraints are even more daunting than in Chelsea, site of the borough’s debut unit.

Located on the heavily trafficked intersection of Lexington Avenue and East 86th Street — spitting distance from a Circuit City and a P.C. Richard & Son — the second store utilizes Best Buy’s small market Concept 5 design to cram 30,000-square-feet of selling and storage space into the former HMV site.

Besides being a marvel of compact merchandising (all core categories except major appliances are represented, along with an urban-oriented assortment of blenders, coffee makers and other countertop fare), the bi-level store features innovative display concepts unique to this location.

These include three circular, open-air demo rooms dubbed Project Living Room, replete with seating that makes the space suitable for customer demos or training sessions, and an interactive merchandiser called “Speaker Tweakers.” The in-aisle system, designed by a New Zealand supplier called Fusion, allows customers to A-B test various home theater loudspeaker arrays by pressing a touch panel.

The store also features Internet kiosks keyed to; listening stations where CD inventory can be scanned and sampled; and a PC service area where customers can view their desktops on overhead monitors as their computers are being repaired.

To herald its arrival, Best Buy flexed its marketing muscle and held a weeklong series of promotions that included in-store appearances by R&B artist Ashanti and the rock bands KISS and The Goo Goo Dolls.