Have you been in a Best Buy recently? The stores are starting to look more like exhibition halls than a warehouse retailer. And that’s by design. Stores within stores. Nearly every Best Buy store now has space dedicated to Samsung products and about half of the stores have space for Windows products.
The company details the store-within-a-store concept in its 2014 fourth-quarter results. Released today, it shows that Best Buy managed to squeak out a profit even though it saw “slightly negative” sales in the first half as sales fell to $14.47 billion from $14.92 billion.
The release notes that the company has opened 1,400 Samsung and 600 Windows stores-within-a-store along with completing the first phase of optimizing its sales floor. The company has 1,495 retail stores in the U.S. Any recent visitor to Best Buy can attest something is different.
Gone are the aisles filled with wire frame shelves. In their place are logical areas focused around a lifestyle or brand. All the Windows tablets are together on a specific Windows-branded table. All the Samsung products are together in an area bright white and blue. And yes, there is of course the Apple table complete with its glowing white Apple.
Brands buying space in stores is nothing new, although this space is usually limited to just shelves at the end of an aisle. Apple pioneered the store within a store years ago when it decided that it wanted a special spot for its wares. It clearly worked as other brands followed suit.
Retail is changing and Best Buy is trying its damnedest to keep up. Circuit City didn’t evolve quickly enough. At this point, with its once-arch rival gone, Best Buy is fighting the Internet. This financial report shows that it is making unique moves by leveraging popular brands. Samsung, for instance, does not have the retail presence of Apple, yet it’s just as popular. If you want to play with a Samsung product, Best Buy is your destination.