Best Buy Co. to Test Mall-Based Mobile Stores

Minneapolis Best Buy Co. Wednesday announced it is launching stand-alone stores dedicated to mobile technology in malls. The format, called Best Buy Mobile, is designed to help customers navigate the wireless landscape by offering a full range of mobile devices including phones, laptops, and other handhelds, service plans and accessories, as well as teaching customers how the devices work together.

“The new Best Buy Mobile stores are based on one simple idea: Technology is better when it works together,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. “Today, life happens on the go. On good days, technology helps. On bad days, the gadgets don’t work. This store is designed to help people get more from their mobile life.”

Best Buy Mobile was created as a joint venture with leading U.K. mobile retailer The Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) in 2006. The Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent retailer of mobile phones and related services, with over 2,400 stores across nine countries.

Best Buy first introduced Best Buy Mobile as an in-store shop in its traditional stores in select locations. It also opened a freestanding version in select cities. But this is the first time the chain has opened the concept in a mall.

The chain said its new stores will average 3,000 sq. ft. and target shoppers that don’t traditionally shop at its big-box stores such as women and younger shoppers. The stores will feature dedicated “kids zones,” which will give shoppers a place to drop off the kids while they shop. Also, a “Geek Squad Precinct” will be located within each store for all services needs.

Best Buy will test its new mall-based concept in three locations: Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., Fair Oaks Mall, in Fairfax, Va.; and Woodfield Mall, in Schaumburg, Ill. All of the stores are scheduled to open in October.