US retail chain Best Buy is set to hit the UK, with the first store to open in Thurrock, Essex in May 2010 - and to be rapidly followed by more.
The consumer electronics retailer - specialising in computing, home entertainment, and audio systems - has had a UK presence for the past two years following its purchase of 50 percent of the Carphone Warehouse, but its recently announced plans to open UK stores of its own represent the first time the Best Buy brand has been seen in the UK.
The opening of the Thurrock Best Buy in May will be followed by additional stores in Hedge End, Southampton and Merry Hill in the West Midlands in June - themselves to be followed by Aintree and Croydon stores.
In order to tempt customers through the doors, the UK Best Buy stores will include demonstration units of the latest home entertainment gear - including 3DTV setups - and the in-house tech team called, rather embarrassingly, the 'Geek Squad' to provide technical assistance before and after purchase.
Interestingly for anyone with experience of the consumer electronics retail sector, Best Buy's sales staff - known as 'Blueshirts' for reasons which will become obvious upon your first visit - don't receive commission, which the company claims allows them to provide "a truly impartial service
Additional temptations that the company is hoping will appeal to UK consumers include a 30-day price promise - where if you find the product cheaper elsewhere (within a 15-mile radius) post purchase Best Buy will refund the difference - and the ability to trade in old televisions, laptops, and mobiles to receive discounts off your next purchase - with the promise that the old hardware will either be re-used or "recycled in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
Are you pleased to see more competition in the consumer electronics retail space, or are you unconvinced that Best Buy's particular approach - honed through years of US consumer sales - will be a good fit for the traditionally more laid-back UK consumer? Do you just want to visit in order to check out a working 3DTV setup? Share your thoughts over in the forums