U.S. retailer Best Buy is looking at a range of possible sites in southern England and Wales with a view to launching in the United Kingdom next spring, property industry sources told Reuters on Monday.
They said the American giant and British joint venture partner Carphone Warehouse Group Plc were considering stores of 30,000 to 50,000 square feet in Southampton, Lakeside (Essex), Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Ipswich and Crawley.
One property industry source said the joint venture was being offered rental deals which would see it pay 10 to 20 pounds per square foot in annual rents.
It said incentive packages worth between 500,000 pounds to 2 million pounds were also being offered by landlords keen to lure the brand to their shopping centres and precincts.
The Best Buy/Carphone joint venture had planned to open its first British store this summer.
However, last month it said it had delayed its entry until the first quarter of 2010.
It said it made commercial sense to wait for better sites and denied the delay was related to Best Buy's woes.
Best Buy, which paid 1.1 billion pounds for a 50 percent stake in the retail arm of Carphone Warehouse last May, issued a profit warning in November.
A spokesman for the joint venture said it was yet to sign any agreements.
"We have not signed any deals and are still surveying a variety of sites up and down the country," he said.
(Additional reporting by Sinead Cruise; Editing by Sharon Lindores)