By James Wells in Maui

MAUI: Best Buy senior vice president, David Berg, told delegates at the Narta conference that he has not ruled out a move into the Australian market.

Berg is the executive in the company responsible for evaluating new market opportunities for the US-based electrical retailer and last year helped the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer acquire the Five Star Appliance Company in China.

Best Buy is also about to open its largest store globally in Shanghai, which will be four floors high and cover 8,000 square metres.

At the conclusion of his presentation at the Narta conference, asked Berg if there is any reason why Best Buy would not consider the Australian market.

“There is no reason why we wouldn’t come to Australia,” Berg said.

During a panel discussion at the conclusion of the conference, Clive Peeters managing director, Greg Smith said that he sees Best Buy as a greater threat to his business than Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart will come to Australia through an acquisition but they do not have a great range of products. Best Buy does – and I see that as a far bigger threat,” said Smith.

Best Buy differs from Wal-Mart – the second largest retailer of consumer electronics – in that it has a much more sophisticated range of appliances including refrigeration, cooking and laundry products.

“We (Clive Peeters) are positioning ourselves at the premium end of the market,” said Smith.

“It is inevitable that a Wal-Mart or a Best Buy will come to our market. Those that are selling commodity will not get away with it when they do come.

“We are positioning ourselves away from that market as much as possible – premium quality products to premium customers. We are working closely with suppliers, and selling service with solutions – that’s where we need to differentiate.”

Best Buy opens 60 new stores annually and has almost 750 stores in North America alone. Within each of its US stores, Best Buy operates a Geek Squad concept which is designed to help consumers with problems relating to installing and operating technology products. There are also 12 standalone Geek Squad stores.

Best Buy also operates 20 stores branded Magnolia which specialise in home theatre products.

The retailer has an annual revenue of $US31 billion has also recently acquired Pacific Sales – a high end kitchen and appliance retailer that operates only in California.