Best Buy - More News
First a trickle. Now a flood.
Richfield, Minn.-based electronics retailer Best Buy will open up to 85 of its music centers by the end of the year, and may add more locations in the future. This move will make Best Buy the second largest MI retailer in the country, after Guitar Center.
"We're not just extending the shelf space in the store, we're creating a designated area specifically for this experience," Kevin Balon, the company's vice president of musical instruments, told the Associated Press. "And we're trying to create an authentic and genuine musical instrument store look and feel inside of Best Buy."
The retailer, already an industry leader in sales of everything from digital cameras to video games, has serious aspirations to carve a niche into the $8 billion spent yearly on musical instruments. The initiative is expected to counter the continual softening of CD and DVD sales experienced by the company.
Those inside and outside the industry are skeptical.
According to retail analyst Brady Lemos of Morningstar, an investment fund research firm, this endeavor will take up a lot of real estate (2,500 square feet per store) and is generally a slow growth segment even during good economic times, making it a challenging proposition.
One manufacturer speaking off the record personally expressed some skepticism about musical products' ability to sustain a presence in mass merchants, but then pointed out that Best Buy is a sophisticated company with extensive market research capacity, so it can be assumed that their market research is accurate and the company will be at least somewhat successful in this endeavor.
Companies working with Best Buy include Fender, Gibson, Line 6, Yamaha, Roland, Korg, and Drum Workshop, among others.
The selection will include everything but acoustic pianos: shoppers will find picks, sheet music, cases, up to $3,200 guitars and $5,000 drum kits.