Retailer News

Best Buy Exits China

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Best Buy Exits China

Best Buy bids farewell to its Chinese dreams as its sells its Five Star operation to the Juayuan Group, a Chinese real estate company in the name of focusing on the home N. American market.

The financial details of the sale are not available, but the Wall Street Journal speculates it cost around $300 million.

“The sale of Five Star does not suggest any similar action in Canada or Mexico," Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly insists. "Instead, it allows us to focus even more on our North American business. We will also continue to invest in and grow our China-based private label operations, with brand names that include Dynex, Insignia, Modal, Platinum and Rocketfish.”

Reportedly to blame for the exit are a slumping Chinese real estate sector causing declines in home appliance acquisitions, as well as an all too crowded market.

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Black Friday Arrives in Europe

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Black Friday Arrives in Europe

The "Black Friday" retail phenomenon arrives in our side of the globe, as more retailers embrace the pre-Christmas shopping extravaganza-- and the customer brawls and near riots it brings about.

Friday 31 November saw eager customers scrambling, if not fighting, for the chance to snap up low(er) cost TVs and consoles, as an estimated 65% of UK retailers, including the likes of Dixons, Argos, Tesco and John Lewis, planned Black Friday promotions. And we mean "fighting" in the most literal sense, as Reuters reports police were called in to control crowds in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow.

"There was a fight in the queue in front of us," one shopper says.

Other European nations are getting into the Black Friday spirit as well, as Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles used the term to promote discounts in France and Denmark.

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Online Retail, Cuts Help Best Buy Q3

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Online Retail, Cuts Help Best Buy Q3

Best Buy's "Renew Blue" strategy appears to be working as the retailer reports better-than-expected fiscal Q3 2015 results with revenues growing by 0.6% Y-o-Y to $9.4 billion through 2.2% Y-o-Y sales growth.

Further growth for the retailer comes from online retail, as it reports online sales growth of 21.6% Y-o-Y, up from 15% seen in the previous year. Also helping were budget cuts worth around $1 billion.

“In Q3 our teams delivered positive comparable sales, improved profitability and continued progress in our Renew Blue transformation," Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly says.

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How Much Does Phones 4U Owe?

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How Much Does Phones 4U Owe?

Phones 4U owes a number of creditors £168 million in various debts, The Telegraph reports-- debts the retailer will only pay very little of (if at all) following its controversial collapse last September.

For the curious, the above mentioned includes £78m in taxes (as divided between £69.2m in VAT and £8.8m in corporation tax), £4.8m in customer refunds, £42m to suppliers, £25.9 to employees and £17.2m in unpaid bills.

And here's the fun (or not, if you're a Phones 4U creditor) part-- according to administrators PwC only 0.4%, or £6720000, of the debt will be repaid. The retailer is currently raising funds through the sale of shops, and made £15m from the sale of 198 outlets to EE and Vodafone, but 365 shops remain closed.

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Media-Saturn Bundles Online Efforts

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Media-Saturn Bundles Online Efforts

Media-Saturn announces the Electronics Online Group (EOG), essentially a bundle of all its online pure-play activities with redcoon at its core and German comparison portal Idealo founder Martin Sinner as CEO.

According to the retailer the EOG will focus on growth via acquisitions and new online concepts, such as specialist web shops offering "hot trends" such as wearables and other future devices. Each pure-play concept will have own positioning in terms of pricing, product range, services and lifestyle relevance, and thus target different customer segments.

"In addition to Media Markt and Saturn's online activities, we also want to make our mark on the online pure-play market," Media-Saturn CEO Pieter Haas says. "Based on the Media-Saturn Group's purchasing power and redcoon's logistics in Erfurt, we see major growth opportunities for pure players like redcoon but also for new online concepts and acquisitions in this sector."

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Amazon to Open Brick-and-Mortar Store?

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Amazon to Open Brick-and-Mortar Store?

The biggest online retailer in the world is supposedly set to embrace traditional brick-and-mortar retail-- the Wall Street Journal reports Amazon will open a first physical outlet in New York City.

The store will be located at a prime slice of Manhattan real estate, specifically at 34th Street, close to the Macy's flagship and the Empire State Building. In other words the outlet appears to be an Amazon advertising effort, one showing off hardware offerings such as Kindle eReaders, the Fire smartphone and the Fire TV STB.

The WSJ adds the store will also act as a mini-warehouse for deliveries, returns, exchanges and pickups within New York, and if it proves a success the model might be rolled out to other US cities.

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Media Markt Trials CE Drive-In

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Media Markt Trials CE Drive-In

The newly opened Media Markt flagship store in Ingolstadt promises to be not only the retailer's most modern outlet yet, but also the first with a feature more associated with fast food restaurants-- a drive-in service.

The concept runs in a similar fashion to the way it does in the catering industry. Customers order products via either website or Media Markt app before get in their cars, drive down to the Ingolstadt store, present their order confirmation and pick up their purchases.

Customers wary of online shopping can also pay at the drive-in.

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Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Store

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Microsoft to Open NYC Flagship Store

Microsoft cements its retail ambitions as it confirms plans for a Manhattan flagship store-- one at 677 Fifth Avenue, a glitzy shopping corridor just a few blocks south of the Apple's famous Manhattan Store.

"As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience," the company tells the Wall Street Journal. "This is a goal we've had since day one-— we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it."

The location is a well known high-end retail destination, one commanding eye-watering rents averaging at around $2749 per square foot, according to the WSJ.

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Dixons Carphone, EE, Vodafone to Divide Phones 4u

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Dixons Carphone, EE, Vodafone to Divide Phones 4u

According to Bloomberg, Dixons Carphone, EE and Vodafone are set to buy at least some shops from Phones 4u, which shuttered down last week following the loss of business from mobile networks, including EE and Vodafone.

EE plans to buy 58 stores and take 359 employees, pending court approval, and is reportedly also set to buy the Phones 4u Life mobile service resale business.

On the other hand Vodafone says it will buy 140 shops and take on around 900 employees, pending court review of the sale.

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Phones 4u Closes Down

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Phones 4u Closes Down

Phones 4u goes into administration, announcing it will close 550 stores on Monday due to mobile networks EE and Vodafone deciding to no longer sell phones through the retail chain.

"Following the unexpected decision of EE and Vodafone to withdraw supply from Phones4U , we regret that we are offline," a simple statement on the retailer's website reads.

The retailer lost the business of other mobile networks, namely O2 and Three, earlier this year, meaning the EE withdrawal amounted to nothing less than a death blow putting 5596 jobs at risk.

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Best Buy Struggles Against Online

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Best Buy Struggles Against Online

Best Buy reports fiscal Q2 2015 revenues of $8.9 billion, a -1.5% Y-o-Y decline with overall sales falling by -2.7% Y-o-Y, a downturn the retailer attributes to customers preferring online to brick-and-mortar shopping.

However Best Buy still describes such results as "better than expected," if  only through the benefit of cost reduction initiatives such as Renew Blue.

Best Buy CE sales are down by -2.5% Y-o-Y, with softness in the mobile phone category ahead of future product launches. The retailer forecasts further low-single digit declines for Q3 and Q4, as per current industry trends.

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