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A man walks past The Source store in Toronto on March 2, 2009. Bell Canada and Best Buy Canada Ltd. have partnered to rebrand 165 The Source stores as Best Buy Express.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Consumer electronics retailer The Source is getting a new name – again.

BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada BCE-T and Best Buy Canada Ltd. have struck a partnership that will rebrand 165 The Source stores – once known as RadioShack – as Best Buy Express.

Bell and Best Buy will invest in updating the stores and expanding their product selection, customer service and employee training, the two companies said in a joint statement Thursday. There were nearly 300 The Source stores at last report; the stores not included in the partnership will close in 2024, a Bell spokesperson said.

The updated Best Buy Express stores will sell general consumer electronics, plus wireless, internet, television and home phone services exclusively from Bell, including from the telecom’s Virgin Plus and Lucky Mobile brands.

Bell will be responsible for operating the stores and its staff will be Bell employees who receive training from both companies, Bell spokesperson Ellen Murphy said, declining to say what the ownership structure of Best Buy Express will be under the partnership.

Ms. Murphy added that customers will benefit from Best Buy’s “global buying power and scale to provide the latest consumer electronics.” Best Buy Canada is a subsidiary of Best Buy Co. Inc.

Blaik Kirby, Bell’s group president of consumer and small and medium business, called it a “groundbreaking partnership that will resonate with Canadian consumers.” Mr. Kirby said the aim is to combine Bell’s mobility and internet offerings with the Best Buy consumer electronics experience.

Best Buy said the partnership will help it expand its presence in malls and small and mid-sized communities across the country, hoping to appeal to customers with an updated, small-store format.

The Source is a subsidiary of Bell Canada, which acquired the electronics retailer for an undisclosed amount to boost its retail footprint in 2009, when the chain had 750 stores.

Bell said at the time that the purchase price was “considerably less” than the $334-million Circuit City Stores Inc. had paid for the retailer in 2004.

Prior to that, the stores were called RadioShack. They were rebranded to The Source by Circuit City in 2005 after U.S.-based RadioShack Corp. won an injunction that stopped Circuit City from being able to use the RadioShack name for its Canadian stores.

(A year earlier, Circuit City had acquired InterTan Canada Ltd., which held the licence for the RadioShack brand in Canada for a set period of time.)

Circuit City’s CEO said in an interview in 2005 that it opted for The Source by Circuit City because the company wanted to keep the name and identity for its Canadian stores separate in case it eventually decided to bring its big-box Circuit City outlets into the country.

However, the company – once the second-largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S. – wound up eventually filing for bankruptcy.

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