Best Buy's "pilot" stores in the UK to be permanently grounded

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  • November 7, 2011 - 11:45 AM

Best Buy Co Inc. said Monday that it will shut down the nearly dozen branded big box stores it operated in the United Kingdom in partnership with Carphone Warehouse. That's not a surprise.

What IS surprising is that the Richfield-based consumer electronics giant continues to characterize its British operations as "pilot stores."

I don't know about you but when I normally think of a pilot store, I picture one, maybe two experimental locations designed to test a new concept or a new market.

Somehow that definition doesn't quite fit Best Buy UK, which has rolled out not one, not two, not three, but 11 “pilot stores" in the country since 2009.

I suppose reasonable people can argue over semantics. But taking a $250 million to $275 million charge to close a "pilot" program seems rather expensive.

Or a nice way of deflecting attention from a decision that didn't quite work out. 

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