Growing up in the Baltimore/Washington area my first experience with big consumer electronics stores was Luskins. That was quickly followed by many a night and weekend day spent at Circuit City. I could have easily been that little kid who wanted to get the difference back on my headphones. Then there was Best Buy, where I actually spent some time as an employee and eventually sales manager.
As Circuit City began to unravel, and later CompUSA, there was always Best Buy. The world would be ok because Best Buy was there and if I needed something I often bought it at Best Buy.
When rumors started surfacing about 6 months ago that things were amiss at the nation’s largest electronics retailer I was in complete denial. There’s no way that mega electronics giant Best Buy would succumb to the deaths of CompUSA and Circuit City. I was also confident because Brian Dunn was the CEO and when I was a Top Gun (yeah I’m dating myself) Best Buy employee Dunn was our regional manager and he was tough and good.
More after the break
I didn’t panic when I heard that Best Buy was going to re-organize by closing 50 stores. I was okay when I learned those 50 stores would be closed by the middle of this month. Then Dunn resigned. My main problem with the Dunn resignation was that he resigned on a Tuesday, the day before that he had made a public statement that he was there for the long haul to re-organize the company. We see how well that went.
Now Best Buy has lost another three key executives. Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens left before the mess started. Stephens left back in March, reportedly to work with startups in California.
Then there was Dunn who exited last month, he resigned, and we hear it was under a cloud of suspicion.
Chief Marketing officer Barry Judge left last Wednesday. Now, Dave Deno President of Best Buy’s Asia region and Chief Financial Officer for Best Buy’s International operations has left. Deno has joined OSI the company that owns Outback Steakhouse, Bone Fish Grille and Flemings to name a few.
Sure these other executives left for better opportunities but if Best Buy was on solid ground there wouldn’t be the need to leave.
I don’t think Best Buy will close in the next few months or maybe even the next few years but something is amiss at Big Blue and it needs to be worked out. Best Buy is losing their ass in media. In their big box stores media; cds, dvds, and video games take up a lot of real estate and there is no margin in these items.
Best Buy had said they were going to open more short form stores like Best Buy Mobile. Last year the company bought back the 50% stake the UK’s Carphone Warehouse had in the Best Buy Mobile locations. This paves the way for Best Buy to add other departments in their mall and shopping center stores.
We’ll see what happens.