Examine the basic premises in the article, "Why Best Buy Failed in the UK."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While different articles take different approaches to why the Best Buy chain failed in the UK, some foundational premises emerge. One distinct reason why Best Buy's attempt to find a foothold in the UK market fell short was because they announced their potential interest in the English market years before they actually were able to open stores to the public.  Other British retailers such as Dixons and Comet time to recalibrate their approach to the British consumer.

Another reason why Best Buy faced challenge rests in a myopic vision that failed to recognizing a critical difference between its American stores and what it sought to create in England.  In America, most Best Buy stores are the benefactors of large space. The warehouse layout of Best Buy in America makes it ideal for strip malls and suburbs. These are elements that define the reality of American consumer consciousness. It is not unusual for American consumers to travel to farther places in order to shop at a Best Buy.   This is not the case in England, where most people who live in urban centers find space to be a challenge. Best Buy stores could not be predominantly featured in London, for example. Best Buy was forced to build its stores away from urban centers.  The British consumer had to make the long travel out of their urban center to an almost rural one for electronics purchases.  This did not necessarily resonate with the British consumer because traveling such a long way for a product is not something which is immediately embraced.  The British consumer is not used to the warehouse approach to shopping, displaying a penchant for more localized retailers and merchants.  Additionally, Best Buy was not able to convince the British consumer that the voyage to its stores was worth it.  Given the convenience of online shopping and a point in which more British consumers purchase their electronics from the online avenue, Best Buy was at a considerable disadvantage.

Adding to all of these formidable element was the issue of economics.  The British consumer is in the midst of financial challenge.  It simply does not make sense for the British consumer, filled with a level of uncertainty about their economic condition, to make large scale purchases on electronics, a perceived item of luxury.  This becomes one of the most critical elements that Best Buy failed to effectively address.  In an American culture where accumulation of products such as electronics is something intrinsic to the consumer's spending habits, it simply is not the same in England.  Whereas Americans have no problem lining up at early hours for a discounted sale of a 70'' flat screen television, such habits are not as readily evident in England.  This mentality is where Best Buy made a critical miscalculation in thinking that its approach would translate easily across the pond.  These ideas become the premise as to why Best Buy failed in the UK.

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