NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While Amazon (AMZN) and CEO Jeff Bezos spend the summer touting the technical attributes of the new Fire smartphone and Fire TV, and why consumers need each, Best Buy (BBY) is moving to advance on the online retailing giant.
What Best Buy is doing to transform its physical stores should interest Amazon, which derives approximately 68% of its annual sales from electronics and general merchandise, according to its 10-K, and boasts a dedicated Samsung shop on its Web site along with the latest premium offerings from Sony.
Best Buy is opening its new Samsung Experience and Sony (SNE) home theater shops that were announced in early May. Designed to elevate customer service, project a visual "wow" factor, and connect the selling experience to the online world in a key part of the store, these new branded home theater shops are currently in 300 U.S. Best Buy store locations, or roughly 28% of the store base (excluding Best Buy Mobile), according to Jeffrey Shelman, director of external communications.
"By the end of the summer, when it is done, there will be 500 Samsung experiences and 350 Sony experiences. Some stores will have Samsung, some will have Sony only, many will have both," noted Shelman. Those totals work out to 47% of Best Buy stores in the U.S. (excluding Best Buy Mobile) with a Samsung home theater shop, and 33% with a Sony store.
Best Buy was unable to provide details on financial arrangements between it and Samsung and Sony, but pointed to this statement from the third-quarter analyst call from CEO Hubert Joly: