As Best Buy's March Madness commercial states, "It's time for comebacks and miracles."
The big box retailer used to be able to count on such major sports events — along with the Super Bowl, NFL Kick-Off, MLB Opening Day — to drive sales of new TV sets and big-screen home theaters. But with HDTV penetration at about 63% in the U.S., and an estimated one in four American homes a Blu-ray disc player, the big box consumer electronics retailer is backing away from its big box model.
Today, the company (which recently closed its UK operations) announced as part of its dismal quarterly earnings report that it is closing 50 of its 1,100 U.S. stores this year, while testing smaller tech support-centric "connected stores" in San Antonio and Minneapolis.
As part of its restructuring, it will also lay off 400 corporate and support workers in order to slash $800 million in costs and turn around its struggling business model. In addition to shifting away from being a big box retailer, it's also looking to China for growth.
"In order to help make technology work for every one of our customers and transform our business as the consumer electronics industry continues to evolve, we are taking major actions to improve our operating performance," stated Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn in a press release.
"As part of our multi-channel strategy, we intend to strengthen our portfolio of store formats and footprints — closing some big box stores, modifying others to our enhanced Connected Store format, and adding Best Buy Mobile stand-alone locations — all to provide a better shopping environment for our customers across multiple channels while increasing points of presence, and to improve performance and profitability."
"These changes will also help lower our overall cost structure," he added. "We intend to invest some of these cost savings into offering new and improved customer experiences and competitive prices — which will help drive revenue. And, over time, we expect some of the savings will fall to the bottom line. At the same time, we will continue to accelerate our key initiatives — growing connections and services, expanding our digital capabilities and growing our business in China."