Best Buy Has a Rough Quarter is Dunn Done? -OpEd

So Best Buy reported their third quarter earnings today and the news isn’t what they wanted.  Best Buy fell short of their analyst forecast of $12.45 billion and even missed their last years number of $12 billion coming in at $11.89 billion this year. The problem with not beating last years quarter is that last year had a considerably softer retail year.

So if you travel around the internet this evening everyone is reporting that this is horrible horrible news.  Horrible is probably the wrong word, Best Buy may rebound and come back harder. Best Buy is citing soft sales in TV’s and Laptops.  Fortune Magazine has this whole drawn out reasoning for why Best Buy may be slipping and while JP Mangalindin may be on to some things, have you walked through a Walmart lately?

Read what Best Buy is telling you about parts of their core business, TV’s and Laptops are down, and mobile is doing fine.  People aren’t mail ordering TV’s, maybe some are getting the latest 42″ television from amazon or some other dot com but the back of most Walmart stores looks like the front of most Best Buys. And the prices are less.. It’s that whole live better pay less thing…

However, let’s get to the headline and one of the points JP brought up which is VERY VERY valid.  Show of hands here, who worked at Best Buy in the 90’s I did and for a pretty long time at that. I left the company in 2002 when the DC sniper had made our stores sales soft again a year after 9/11. I left in a good middle management position within the district. At that time I will disclose that I was in Region 7 and the regional manager was none other than Brian Dunn.

Dunn has a keane retail sense and is competitive as hell. Always talking about that Circuit City down the street. It’s gone now and Best Buy is the last man standing in a lot of markets. Their may be an HH Gregg or some other store but in most towns USA Best Buy is the last man standing.

What happened to the days of C.A.R.E., and Clean and Bright. What happened to greeting every single person that walked through the door? What happened to the overall customer experience? What happened to the days of “I BELIEVE” in hub meetings and sending blue shirts to Top Gun… Take care of the crew and they take care of the customer and then the bottom line.

When Dick Shultz passed the torch to Brad Anderson and then Brian Dunn what happened to the core values that made Best Buy the best? That’s the problem. Education and customer service.  We mystery shopped 4 Best Buys in our local district today and only a handful even knew the Nexus S was coming on Thursday and it’s a Best Buy exclusive. In fact one young lady at one of the Best Buy Mobile’s inside a big box, told us NOT to get the Nexus S that it wasn’t that good… REALLY?

From my years in retail I will say BOLDLY that the customer isn’t always right, heck half the time they are wrong but its how they are treated that counts. Dont believe me? Look at what Dan Hesse did with Sprint. For years Sprint had the worst customer service of the four major carriers, customer service has bounced back and Sprint’s bottom line went hand in hand with that.

Is Brian Dunn Done? Doubt it. Is Best Buy done? No not after one quarter but just as I read in a long story about Blackberry, examine the problems now and fix them don’t wait until it’s too late…

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