Global electronics manufacturer Samsung may expand its in-store relationship with huge retailer Best Buy.
But that won’t include South Korea’s Samsung buying shares in Richfield-based Best Buy, according to statements by the respective companies Monday that cooled industry speculation.
“If Samsung did make an investment … it would make a lot of other manufacturers angry,” said David Strasser, an analyst with Janney Capital Management in an interview Monday. “Best Buy is who they are because of being brand-agnostic. And they don’t need capital. They’ve got plenty of cash.”
An online trade publication surfaced speculation Monday of a possible stock investment by Samsung in Best Buy. That was denied by both Best Buy and Samsung.
A separate online report by ZD Net then reported that what’s more likely is expansion of Samsung Experience shops, the manufacturer’s mini-stores at most Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores around the country, which offer smartphones, tablets, laptops and cameras to appliances, TVs or other equipment made by Samsung.
Best Buy declined to comment on that possibility Monday.
Steve Baker, an analyst with NPD Group, said in an interview Monday that Samsung “already is invested heavily in Best Buy’s success” through what could be hundreds of millions invested since last spring in Samsung Experience.
Bigger in-store stores
Apple is Best Buy’s biggest merchandise supplier. However, the announcement early this year between Best Buy and Samsung was seen as a strengthening of a profitable alliance and a way for rebounding Best Buy to maximize value from its bricks-and-mortar outlets on which critics have charged it’s too reliant in an era of virtual, online shopping.
Samsung Experience, which averages about 460 square feet, features a broad selection of Samsung mobile devices, all sold by Samsung employees who can activate and service the products. Apple mini-stores in Best Buy average just under 205 square feet.
However, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly has said in the past that Best Buy must work with its suppliers to give customers who lean toward Internet shopping a compelling reason to visit its stores.
“It’s like a game,” Joly has said. “We have this space. How do we maximize the contribution from that space in a way that’s good for the customer and economically feasible?”
Best Buy shares fell 3 percent Monday, or $1.14, to $37.01.