Brand Shops work for some sectors of retail and in others they really don't make since. Take JCP for instance, I hated when they converted it from traditional apparel to this new "modern" retailer that Ron Johnson wanted it to be. The reason why is you used to be able to go into JCP and go to Mensware and you had shirts, pants, etc. In this new Brand Shop setup you have to know what "sub-brand" you're looking for, which something tells me there's a price game involved like putting the more expensive brands in more prominent locations and it actually makes it much harder to price compare. Imagine if you came in to buy a camera and you had to go to the Sony brand-stand and to compare it you had to jump over to the Samsung brand-stand and the Canon brand-stand - after a while it just creates a really frustrating experience.
Secondly, vendors in-store should go. On weekends, it seems like there's more vendors then there are Best Buy employees, which I'm sure Best Buy loves because they save a ton of money on labor, but it's really a bad image for Best Buy, considering they are "supposed" to be there to train employees and educate customers. The problem with this is most of these vendors are going to say whatever they need to say to land their sale and make their commission. Try asking a Direct TV rep what they think about AT&T, Time Warner or Dish - OR - a Sony camera rep what they think about a Canon? The bigger underlying issue that I've noticed is that customers don't realize they are talking to a vendor from XYZ company. So when they ask why the Canon with higher MP is cheaper than the Sony, they don't realize they're talking to a Sony representative that is going to try his/her best to spotlight their product's features over the Canon and not-surprisingly if you pulled sales data for the weekend I'm sure you'd see an unusal spike in Sony camera sells, etc. Nothing against Sony, I have their cameras and TVs but using them as an example.
On a larger scale the problem this creates is there's really no need to have as many Best Buy employees at that point. Why blow money on labor when you have vendors paying for real estate in your store and providing the labor? You really just need the blue shirts to run the registers at that point. This will mark the beginning of the end for Best Buy though because you will no longer be able to get unbiased, HONEST advice. For instance, the HTC One has been hailed as one of the best Android handsets on the market and the S4 was polar opposite from most professional review sites (i.e. Tech Radar), however the Samsung representatives in-store are going to play to all of the biases that have been created against HTC like the Sense interface sucks (which has actually been revamped on the One BTW), the battery is terrible, etc. to better spotlight their product. Think that's ridiculous? Check out what's happening to Blackberry! The Z10 was one of the best professionally reviewed smart phones and a lot of the ideas on it are fresh and intriguing yet many reviewers note it may be too little too late and thus employees talk customers out of it and into "trendier" handsets like an S4, iPhone, etc. The Z10 has PRACTICAL features that you can actually use like separate profiles for home and business use so you don't have to carry two phones. Samsung phones you can touch together to share things (which I know a lot of people with S3's and S4's and I have yet to see them use that feature once).
So are brand shops a bad idea? For a store like Best Buy it depends on how they were implemented. I've always liked Best Buy's traditional approach of being more departmentalized. Cameras are all in the cameras area and Best Buy could use their new connected stores' runway tables to spotlight integration for specific brands. I think having a store with like 10-15 vendor stores within it would create a flea market/farmer's market find of atmosphere similiar to that of Niemen Marcus.