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Best Buy Said to Cut 2,400 Jobs

Best Buy Said to Cut 2,400 Store to Geek Squad Positions
Best Buy Co. signage is displayed outside of a store in Emeryville, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Best Buy Co. will cut 2,400 jobs, or about 1.4 percent of its workforce, starting immediately, according to a person familiar with the plans.

About 600 Geek Squad tech support jobs will be eliminated along with 1,800 store positions by Aug. 1, said the person, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. Those eliminated will qualify for job-placement assistance and severance packages, said the person.

The job cuts come as Best Buy struggles to compete with the likes of Inc., Apple Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. In March, Best Buy reported a $1.7 billion fourth-quarter loss and said it would close 50 big-box stores.

Best Buy is trying to thwart the so-called showrooming phenomenon -- when customers try out gadgets in a store and then buy them online -- by adopting Apple-style minimalism rather than its traditional big-box approach.

Best Buy also is remaking the Geek Squad. Technicians will staff in-store booths to fix simple problems -- think Genius Bar -- instead of providing service in customers’ homes.

The Geek Squad job cuts will affect only technicians who provide in-home service, said the person.

Management Shake-Up

Best Buy is searching for a permanent chief executive officer to replace Brian Dunn, who resigned in April after having an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.

Founder and Chairman Richard Schulze said in May that he would step down as chairman after an internal investigation revealed he failed to tell the board about the relationship.

Schulze resigned last month after announcing plans to sell his 20 percent stake in the company.

Schulze is exploring taking the world’s largest electronics retailer private, as he considers options that include selling his stake, a person familiar with the situation said last month.

Best Buy fell 0.7 percent to $21.59 at the close in New York. The Richfield, Minnesota-based company’s shares have declined 7.6 percent this year.

CNBC reported the 2,400 job cuts earlier.

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