Retailers & Distributors

Best Buy Gives Apple Store Example Up

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As Best Buy appears to be getting back on its feet, The Wall Street Journal reports the retailer is set to dump at least one retail idea-- "Richfield," the store model "inspired" by the Apple take on retail.

Best Buy testAccording to the WSJ CEO Hubert Joly halted plans involving the Richfield model when he took over the retailer and, 6 months later, "his finger is still on the pause button."

How come? Joly's answer is "fixture changes [are not] a wise use of capital." The retailer also has bigger plans to concentrate on-- namely beating the showrooming trend, changing product mixes in different stores and store-within-store deals with the likes of Samsung.

A July 2012 idea championed by then interim CEO Mike Mikan, the store redesign was to house less gadgets within a smaller footprint, a "Solution Central" (read "Genius Bar") help desk and several self-service points replacing checkout lines.

Go Best Buy Loses Interest in Being More Like the Apple Store (

Go Best Buy Follows Apple Store Example

In the Game of Retail, You Either Win or You Lose (a job)

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The once king of the retail loses his head-- CNBC reports JC Penney chops "Genius Bar" creator Ron Johnson out after all of 17 months as CEO, following his failure to turn the ailing retailer's fortunes around.

Ron JohnsonWhen you play the game of thrones you either win or you die, the HBO TV series tells us. A maxim that equally applies to the cutthroat world of high stakes retail!

Reportedly Johnson's plans of making an Apple out of JCP (via no-sale strategy, more fashionable merchandise and shop-in-shop investment) failed big time. Hedge fund manager William Ackman, the man behind his recruitment, describes Johnson's decisions as no less than "big mistakes" and "very close to a disaster."

"One of the big mistakes was perhaps too much change too quickly without adequate testing on what the impact would be," Ackman continues. Then again, didn't Johnson promise "a period of true innovation" for the retailer?


GAME Starts Selling Tablets

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GAMEAs videogames shift from physical to online sales UK retail chain GAME spices up its product offering by adding a slew of tablets on its market shelves. 

GAME already sells the Nexus 7, but soon 150 stores will offer 9 more tablets-- including the Archos Gamepad, the Acer Iconia B1-A71 and the obligatory 4th generation iPad and iPad mini. 

"Tablets are an increasingly popular gaming platform so it's a natural step for us to be at the heart of providing these to the UK gaming community," the retailer says. "We are really excited about the GamePad, it's great to be able to offer our customers something that is not only brand new but specifically tailored to gamers."

Go GAME Tablets

Mobile Fun Launches 20 International Websites

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UK-based online mobile device accessory retailer Mobile Fun completes its "MF20" initiative and launches 20 international websites in early 2013. 

Richard Moore Mobile FunNow the retailer has dedicated language and currency websites for 27 countries, and ships orders to over 50. 

European Mobile Fun websites cover Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. 

The international sites make around 36% of Mobile Fun total order volume, with Q4 2012 orders reaching over 46000 with 57% Y-o-Y growth. The retailer also forecasts £1.2 million EBITDA for the current financial year. 

Go Online Retailer Mobile Fun Launches Websites in 12 More Countries

freenet Acquires Gravis

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The freenet Group expands its portfolio and acquires Apple reseller Gravis for an undisclosed sum-- becoming one of the biggest Apple partners in the process. 

GravisEstablished in 1988, Gravis is the only nationwide Apple retailer in Germany and a leading European Apple reseller. It received the "Worldwide Best Apple Store" award in 2000 and, with following the iPhone and iPad, is also an established mobile device distributor. 

Gravis already established an exclusive collaboration agreement with freenet AG on October 2011 covering the marketing of subsidiary mobilcom-debitel Shop GmbH.

“The systematic expansion of our range of high-quality Apple lifestyle products for mobile communications and the mobile internet across all sales channels ideally complements our strategic development into a true digital lifestyle provider,” freenet AG CEO Christoph Vilanek says. “At the same time we are planning to gradually start selling our existing digital lifestyle products in the energy, mobile services and service products sector through Gravis.” 

Go freenet Group Acquires Gravis