Best Buy made headlines over the weekend…yet again for all the wrong reasons. The retail electronics giant unveiled the complete list of the 50 big box stores that it plans to close due to the chain's inability to compete with online competitors and low-cost discounters.
The closures are the main component of Best Buy's dramatic cost-cutting initiative, announced in March, which will include a restructuring of the company's business model and the elimination of thousands of jobs. The announcement came days after the retailer posted a $1.7 billion quarterly loss.
Saturday's news release ends the drama for thousands of Best Buy employees who were waiting anxiously to hear if they will need to find a new job. The company revealed its plans to close 50 stores in March but had only notified eight locations as of Saturday. Of the remaining 42 stores to be closed, seven are in California and another six are in Illinois. The rest are spread throughout the continental U.S.
Best Buy will close the vast majority of the stores by the middle of May. Three additional locations will be shuttered toward the end of the summer.
"This was not an easy decision to make," the company noted in a statement. "We chose these stores carefully, and are working to ensure the impact to our employees will be as minimal as possible, while serving all customers in a convenient and satisfying way."
The cost-cutting strategy, expected to save Best Buy as much as $800 million by fiscal year 2015, will enable the company to reinvest in customer service training, rewards programs and the creation of as many as 100 smaller, potentially more profitable Best Buy Mobile stores.
The news comes just days after Best Buy veteran Brian Dunn abruptly resigned as CEO following a board investigation into his "personal conduct." Various media outlets have reported that the married Dunn misused company assets while maintaining an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. No permanent replacement has been named.
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