Morrison eyes Best Buy deal

Kasmira Jefford
Follow Kasmira
SUPERMARKET giant Wm Morrison is in advanced talks with Carphone Warehouse to buy 11 “big box” stores occupied by electronics chain Best Buy in order to convert them into its fast-growing Kiddicare brand.

Britain’s fourth-biggest grocerbought the online baby products retailer Kiddicare last year for £70m in its first step to building a business selling non-food goods over the internet.

It is thought that all 11 Best Buy sites are under offer to Morrison, although the company may decide to select only the best sites. A spokesperson for the firm declined to comment.

The large stores, located in out-of town-retail parks, are part of Best Buy Europe, a joint venture set up between US group Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse in 2008, which was intended to shake up the electronics market with cheaper prices and better customer service.

However, Carphone Warehouse said in November that the outlets would close and be put up for sale after the venture failed to take off and racked up losses of £62m over the year.

Morrison’s plans to bring Kiddicare to retail parks will pit the company in against baby goods retailer Mothercare, which is battling to turn around its UK operations.

At the time of the deal chief executive Dalton Philips said Kiddicare and its technology platform would help the firm’s expansion into the online non-food business.