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11/9/2007
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Best Buy To Expand Mobile Store To 1,000 Sites

The roll-out comes after a successful trial of Best Buy Mobile at 13 stores in New York City.

Best Buy is planning to roll out its mobile store concept at 1,000 sites over the next two years, U.K.-based mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse, which has a joint venture with Best Buy, said this week.

The roll-out comes after a successful trial of Best Buy Mobile at 13 stores in New York City, conducted by Best Buy and Carphone, which has 2,000 mobile phone stores in 10 European markets. Best Buy Mobile was a concept created in 2006 as part of a joint venture with Carphone to help customers make more informed choices when purchasing mobile devices.

"Very few people say they have had a positive experience purchasing their mobile phones, but it doesn't have to be that way. Customers deserve a pressure-free, personalized, one-stop-shop that puts the emphasis on them, not on the latest gadget or service plan," said David Sprosty, CEO of Best Buy Mobile, in a past statement.

The new concept, which will debut in 1,000 stores by 2009, includes a range of improved in-store services such as a wide selection of phones, networks, and accessories, noncommissioned sales associates, straightforward pricing, and post-purchase support.

Best Buy in June announced that it would expand the mobile store concept to more than 190 U.S. locations in the next nine months. Beginning in July, Best Buy Mobile became available to residents in 12 states throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and the District of Columbia.

Further U.S. expansion will include upgrading the mobile sections of 170 Best Buy stores and the creation of 10 standalone stores dedicated to vending mobile devices. Each standalone store is approximately 1,500 square feet, while the store-within-a-store takes up about 800 square feet of display space.

Under an agreement between the two companies, Best Buy will fund the creation of the U.S.-based mobile retail venture and Carphone will receive a share of the incremental profits.

Last month, No. 1 mobile device maker Nokia opened its first flagship store in China, which also is the largest and only standalone Nokia store in the world. Nokia's concept is similar to that of Best Buy's: to create a personalized shopping experience for consumers. Store visitors can interact and become familiar with Nokia's mobile devices and services before purchasing them, as well as get detailed product descriptions displayed via a state-of-the-art audio and video system.

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