Has Best Buy's plan to rule the UK stalled... in Gateshead?
There's some nice stuff there - it's got the Angel of the North, perhaps the best live music venue in the country and one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe. It also has a high street that hasn't been washed since 1958 and is full of pissed-up shit faces, it's not good enough to have its own train station, and everyone who lives there tells their friends they live in Newcastle.
Something else Gateshead isn't going to have, is a Best Buy. The US brand, in cahoots with the Carphone Warehouse, is supposedly out to revolutionise the electrical retail market in the UK. That plan appears to have stalled, after initial delays in opening the initial handful of stores - and now that Best Buy has pulled out of a deal to open in Gateshead, according to The Times.
It's not Gateshead putting them off - Team Valley Retail Park is one of the most sought-after retail sites in the country. "If you are trying to build a nationwide presence, it would be very surprising not to go there," one source told the newspaper. "It will be in any retailer's list of top performers."
"The town centre is an absolute fucking shambles, mind," they probably thought as they said it.
The Times also reckons that Best Buy is well behind its initial target of opening 80 outlets by 2013; only five stores have opened in the past year. Understandably, Best Buy have disputed the claim, and said it plans to open five more stores in 2011, bringing its total to 11. PC World and Currys will be sleeping soundly for a good few nights yet.