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Best Buy goes for niche buyers with Escape and Studio D boutique stores

Peter Rojas
Best Buy

Best Buy's been almost uncomfortably public with all of their plans to try and turn the company around in the face of stiff competition from both online retailers and bargain chains like Wal-Mart (that whole thing about classifying customers as "angels" and "devils" was good for a laff), but they're doing more than just revamping their stores or trying to discourage some people from shopping with them. Their latest tactic? Boutique stores. They're testing out a couple of different experimental shops geared towards specific niche demographics and that don't look anything at all like regular Best Buy stores. The first one, based in Lincoln Park in Chicago, is called "Escape" and is designed to double as a place to hang out (there are rooms you can rent for parties) and is aimed at bleeding edge types (sound familiar?) with cash to burn. The other one is called Studio D, and is supposed to be a comfortable, non-aggressive space for women aged 30 to 45 (read: soccer moms) to come and buy electronics. The lighting is softer than what you'll find in a typical Best Buy, and has "welcoming displays" (aren't all displays supposed to be welcoming?) and "trendy design". There are also classes like "Discovering your iPod" and on how to create a family calendar. There are also plans to launch a third test store caled "eq-life" that'll focus on health and well-being.

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