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Best Buy CEO 'Pleased' With Samsung Shops' Early Results

Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 | 2:38 PM ET

It went from an idea to reality in five short months.

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly said it was just last December when he and Samsung Electronics CEO J.K. Shin first met to discuss the idea of putting "Samsung Experience" shops into Best Buy locations.

Today more than 200 of these shops are already open. By June, 1,400 Best Buy locations will have them.

To officially launch the concept, the two executives spoke Wednesday to a small group of reporters in Best Buy's Union Square location in New York City.

"The feedback is extremely positive in the early results, and in terms of sales, it is also positive. Too early to quantify in definite, but we are pleased with what we're seeing," Joly told me when I asked how the shops that are already open are performing.

Good news for both partners, as the release of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is just around the corner.


Best Buy Unveils Samsung Experience
The big box store is giving tours of Samsung's new store-within-a-store, reports CNBC's Courtney Reagan.

(Read More: New Galaxy S4 Not Exactly Earth-Shattering: Reviewers)

Each of the Samsung Experience shops will be staffed with knowledgeable Samsung employees. The partnership and build out of the shops is causing some to wonder if Best Buy employees can remain brand neutral in their recommendations to customers, now that so much has been invested in the new partnership.

"The job of the blue shirts is unchanged. They aren't incentivized for one vendor or another. Their focus is on customer satisfaction and overall success of the store, so the objective advice of the blue shirts continues," Joly said.

The shop-in-shop concept isn't new to retail broadly, or to Best Buy individually. J.C.Penney is hitching its transformation strategy to an entire store composed of 80 to 100 shop-in-shops, and Best Buy already has Apple shop-in-shops

(Read More: JC Penney Tries to Get Its House in Order)

But the average "Best Buy-Samsung Experience" shop will be twice as large as the typical Apple shop, and it will be in twice the number of locations. The strategy calls for Best Buy to hitch onto a successful vendor while Samsung uses the massive Best Buy footprint to take some of Apple's market share in smartphones and tablets.

Best Buy's physical real estate is an asset and not a liability, Joly said. While the financial terms of the partnership are not being revealed, it's safe to assume a "shop" inside a previously standing Best Buy is a much cheaper way to create a 1,400- location retail footprint in a very short period of time.

-By CNBC's Courtney Reagan; Follow her on Twitter @CourtReagan

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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