Best Buy Co. Inc. has unveiled an initiative that sets aside store space for an array of musical instruments and gear in dozens of its locations nationwide. The company, based in Richfield, MN, is the country's largest consumer electronics retailer.
According to published reports, it will have as many as 85 music centers inside its stores by the end of the year and may add them at more locations in the future. So far, ten units are operating, including five in California, two in Illinois and two in Minnesota.
The in-store music centers will occupy about 2,500 square feet of retail space and include approximately 1,000 different products. Among them are such well known brands as Gibson, Fender, Drum Workshop and Roland.
The selection will include accessories, such as picks, sheet music and cases, along with high end basses, guitars, keyboards and DJ equipment. Instruments will be housed in separate rooms, and the company also plans to offer group music lessons.
"We're not just extending the shelf space in the store, we're creating a designated area specifically for this experience," said Kevin Balon, VP of musical instruments. "We're trying to create an authentic and genuine musical instrument store look and feel inside of Best Buy," he said.
A selection of the offerings will also be available online. "However you want to play, if play means you're just learning and you want to play with a bunch of buddies, or you want to play on stage, we can support any of that," Balon added.
The U.S. musical instrument market is estimated at $8 billion, and this initiative is designed to make Best Buy a leader in instrument sales. Some retail analysts note that it comes as sales of CDs and DVDs are slowing and under further threat from downloads.
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