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The strategic partnership between Best Buy Canada and Bell Canada has seen the first opening of a projected 167 small-format consumer technology retail stores across Canada-branded Best Buy Express.

The inaugural Best Buy Express store opened in Guildford Town Centre, Surrey, British Columbia, on June 26 and the debut marked the beginning of a phased rollout over the next six months, with all stores expected to open by the end of 2024, following completion of renovations, the partners said.

Best Buy said that the stores will feature a curated assortment of technology, while customers will be able to shop Best Buy’s full assortment online from small appliances to headphones and enable shoppers to pick up and return products at the stores.

Customers will also be able to shop for Bell, Virgin Plus and Lucky Mobile telecommunications services, while Best Buy Express stores will offer Geek Squad services including protection and services for all consumer electronics products.

The size of the stores ranges between 1,540-4,300-sq.-ft., with the majority of the stores being around 2,000-sq.-ft.

“Opening 167 stores in five months may be a North American first. It’s certainly bold in retail today. We’re excited to see these new stores come to life as we double our store count, expanding our presence across Canada. We’re proud to be able to offer our ultimate shopping convenience to new and existing customers,” said Ron Wilson, President, Best Buy Canada, announcing the rapid roll out.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy Co., Inc., Best Buy Canada is one of Canada’s largest omnichannel retailers, operating the Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, and Geek Squad brands. Currently it has over 160 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores across Canada and has a dedicated Canadian website, BestBuy.ca.

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Best Buy Canada and Bell Canada first announced that they had entered into a strategic partnership earlier this year as they confirmed that The Source, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell, would be rebranded as Best Buy Express and offer the latest in consumer electronics from Best Buy along with exclusive telecommunications services from Bell.

For Best Buy it is an opportunity to expand its presence in malls and in smaller and mid-sized communities across the country and Wilson said at the time that “these updated small stores are sure to appeal to new and existing Best Buy customers.”

The expansion comes amid a challenging consumer environment for Best Buy. On May 30 the retailer announced that first-quarter revenue was $8.8 billion, down 6.1% on a comparable sales basis, with Best Buy’s guidance for its financial year 2025 anticipating revenue in the range from $41.3 billion to $42.6 billion, with comparable sales declining 3% to flat.

Best Buy Sales Flat

The largest drivers of the comparable sales decline on a weighted basis were appliances, home theater, gaming and mobile phones. These drivers were partially offset by growth in the services and laptop categories, Best Buy said.

Corie Barry, Best Buy CEO remained bullish at the earnings update as he said: “Through strong execution, we continued to manage our profitability while at the same time preparing for future growth. We made progress on our FY25 priorities, grew our paid membership base and drove improvements in our customer experiences.”

However, he admitted that a “mix of macro factors” continued to create a challenging sales environment during the quarter and that sales were slightly softer than the retailer’s expectations.

Best Buy's share price has rallied this year, up circa 12% since January 1 amid cost cutting and business operational improvements.