Best Buy to open 40 new stand-alone mobile stores

Best Buy plans to open 40 stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores this fiscal year and will quintuple its share of the U.S. mobile phone market to 15 percent, the company said.

Brian Dunn, who formally took over the reins as CEO Wednesday from the retiring Brad Anderson, said mobile phones would be a key part of the company's strategy of focusing on devices featuring "connectivity." The company in February said its U.S. mobile phone share in the fourth quarter of 2008 grew to 3.2 percent, up from 1.9 percent a year earlier. At the time, Best Buy said it hoped to have a 10 percent share in a few years, a projection that does not seem so lofty compared to the 15 percent Dunn said the company is now shooting for.

Dunn, who formerly was president of Best Buy's North American retail operations, said the company is experimenting with more interactive Best Buy Mobile store layouts. These experiments will lead to more definite plans on store design, which will then be rolled out more broadly next year, Dunn said.

The electronics retailer has muscled its way into the mobile phone market. It became the first retailer to sell Apple's iPhone 3G last summer, and opened its first Best Buy Mobile outlets last fall. The company has become a go-to destination for popular phone launches. Best Buy was one of the few retailers, including RadioShack and Wal-Mart, to have the Palm Pre when Sprint Nextel launched it June 6.

The company is still the country's largest consumer electronics chain by sales, but its first quarter earnings fell 15 percent, and domestic sales at stores open at least 14 months sagged 4.9 percent in the quarter.  

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