If you have a particularly good memory you may remember the £1.1bn Carphone Warehouse deal US retail giant Best Buy struck in May 2008. If not I suggest your social life does you credit, so here's a reminder - and the consequences.
The move gave Best Buy a 50 per cent share of Carphone Warehouse, comprising all the 2,400 stores, the web and direct businesses, the insurance operations and its airtime reselling businesses. CW's broadband business (TalkTalk, AOL Broadband and Opal) was not involved. The key part of the deal is that it was seen as a way for Best Buy to learn the UK market and attain a foothold. On Sunday (yes, we even get press releases on Sunday) it took the step up.
The nationwide roll-out of Best buy stores has begun and Thurrock is the surprisingly non-London location for the first one, opening its doors in May. This will be followed in June by Hedge End in Southampton, Merry Hill in the West Midlands and Aintree in Liverpool. From here further branches will open as part of an ongoing expansion strategy to conquer the world.
Best Buy stores won't replace the Carphone Warehouse name and won't compete directly, instead focusing on home entertainment and stocking brands such as Loewe, Sony, Samsung, Bose, Harman Kardon, Pioneer, Denon, Kef and Panasonic. Pricing will range from budget to £20,000+ premium systems while Blu-ray, DVD, music and gaming (titles and consoles) will also be stocked.
Setup services, one to one in-store tech support (akin to Apple's Genius Bar), trade-ins and 24 hour 'Geek Squad' online consultation will be provided too. Furthermore Best Buy will have a price guarantee which promises an additional 10 per cent discount on any product found cheaper elsewhere within 30 days of a purchase. It is unclear whether this includes deals found online (unlikely).
Yep, the Yanks are here - and they mean business...
Update: As I suspected: "the price match guarantee excludes mail order, telesales and online prices."