Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy (BBY) is the country’s top specialty retailer in consumer electronics, personal computers and appliance sales with annual revenue of about $50 billion. Best Buy operates more than 1,000 big-box stores nationwide.
Best Buy is a $50 billion retailer with some 160,000 employees. Despite its recent troubles the Richfield, Minn.-based company remains the market leader in consumer electronics and appliance sales.
But sales at the company's stores have been slipping. Target, Walmart, Apple and other rivals are eating into Best Buy's bricks-and-mortar business, and Best Buy is far behind Amazon in the online retail world.
Best Buy has more than 1,000 big-box stores nationwide. Analysts say many of the stores are far too large, given the shift of music, movies software and video games to digital formats and distribution, as well as the downsizing of TVs, computers and other electronics. Best Buy has closed dozens of its big stores and is now focused on opening smaller stores that concentrate on smart phones, tablet computers and other mobile technology.
In 2012, CEO Brain Dunn resigned after he was caught having an "inappropriate" relationship with a younger female subordinate. Company founder Richard Schulze was subsequently censured for not alerting the company's board about Dunn’s misstep. Schulze left Best Buy's board, and attempted to round up investors and lenders to buy the company and take it private.
Current Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly has said the company's performance has not been satisfactory and vows there will be a turn-around. Best Buy has launched a "Renew Blue" effort aimed at improving everything from customer service and price competitiveness to sales and profits.
Most elements of the plan have been discussed by Best Buy management for years. But Joly, who got the CEO job last August, said he is putting plans in place that will get carried out and make Best Buy "great" again.
"I cannot guarantee how quickly we're going to turn this," Joly told analysts last fall. "But there's a sense of urgency. Best Buy has been a winning organization for decades. And people are sick and tired of losing. People want to win."
Part of that formula is matching the prices of local retailers and 19 major online competitors. But Best Buy is still at a disadvantage against online retailers that don't charge customers sales taxes while offering free shipping.
Best Buy has been dealing with increased competition from online stores, notably Amazon.com, and discounters like Wal-Mart. Under CEO Hubert Joly, the company has been trying to turn around results, revamping merchandise, training employees and cutting costs.
Best Buy reported net income of $54 million for its most recent quarter, reversing a loss of $10 million a year earlier.
Best Buy's stock has almost quadrupled in price from late December, when some thought the company was doomed. Now Best Buy is looking like a firm that has stopped the death spiral, thanks to what analysts praise as smart moves by management.
Best Buy is joining other retailers in opening up earlier on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Best Buy reached a new high for recycling last year, as the retailer collected 173 million pounds of unwanted appliances and electronics.
Some of Best Buy's most loyal customers will be getting increased benefits from the retailer.
Shares of Best Buy jumped 13 percent Thursday after Samsung, the big consumer electronics manufacturer, said it will open mini-stores in more than 1,400 of the retailer's locations.
A partnership that put Best Buy Geek Squad agents in some Target stores is ending.
Richard Schulze is returning to Best Buy as what the company is calling a chairman emeritus, the company announced this morning. He has also nominated former CEO Brad Anderson and another Best Buy veteran, Alan Lenzmeier, to take two seats on the board.
Best Buy wants employees working more at the office, rather than telecommuting.
Best Buy's future is less cloudy today, at least the immediate future. Founder Dick Schulze has dropped for now his months-long quest to buy the company and take it private. The retailer also reported improved financial results for the quarter that included Christmas. The company posted a loss of $400 million, much smaller than the $1.8 billion loss in the same quarter a year ago.
Best Buy's earnings report comes just hours after a midnight deadline for company founder Richard Schulze to make an offer to buy the company. The deadline came and went with no announcement of any offer or deal.
Shares of Best Buy fell one percent Thursday, as the trading day came and went with no word of a buyout offer from founder Richard Schulze.
Target's fiscal fourth-quarter net income dipped 2 percent as it dealt with intense competition during the crucial holiday season.
The company says the move will save $150 million and is only the first phase of a $725 million cost-cutting program announced last fall.