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Best Buy Laid Off 5,000 Employees in Response to the Online Shopping Boom

Best Buy
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Fry’s Electronics wasn’t the only electronics retailer affected by COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Best Buy laid off 5,000 employees of its 102,000 employees in response to the pandemic-hastened rise of online shopping.

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in an earnings report that “online sales grew almost 90% to a record $6.7 billion and made up 43% of our total Domestic sales” in the 13-week fourth quarter of 2021 that ended on January 30.

But that doesn’t mean the company’s brick-and-mortar stores were obsolete. Quite the opposite: Barry said, “almost two-thirds of our online revenue was either picked up in store or curbside, shipped from a store or delivered by a store employee.”

So why did Best Buy lay off 5,000 of its employees and say that it plans to close some of its stores this year? According to CNN Business, it’s because Barry thinks the company has “too many full-time and not enough part-time employees.”

That makes sense from an economic perspective. Many states offer protections to full-time workers that guarantee them some form of paid time off, healthcare, and other benefits. Part-time employees aren’t eligible for those so-called perks.

Best Buy also said that it expected the sales growth it experienced in 2020—it turns out that people buy a lot of new electronics when they’re stuck inside for a year—to slow in the first half of 2021. Reducing its sales staff can help it maintain margins.

It’s a balancing act. One side has Best Buy offering employees cash bonuses for risking exposure to COVID-19 and giving them paid time off to get vaccinated; the other has the company laying off those same employees for greater flexibility.

  • LolaGT
    “too many full-time and not enough part-time employees.”

    Straight out of the robber baron handbook.
    Reply
  • exploding_psu
    Poor mates, hope they'll do well especially in these brutally troubling times
    Reply
  • MarsISwaiting
    Their mates at Best Buy should strike .
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    and again...record profit for a company and it celebrates by firing ppl.

    there should be harsh fines for that type of scummy move.
    Reply
  • fevanson
    The Best Buy corpo management is a bunch of sticklers, in person stores are at a premium during a lockdown. But they go ahead and fire the people risking getting a slightly stronger flu.
    Reply
  • Jim90
    This stinks. Let's hope there's something in the employment laws that cover this. Needs-of-the-service change is one thing, this smells different.
    Reply
  • Gurg
    I bought a 50" 4k TV and 32" 4k monitor from Best Buy in the last four months. Both times I purchased online for same day curbside no contact pick up. Great having a local store, with curbside pickup especially for larger heavier items. Neither of these items were on display in the store to see the picture quality in person so basically bought them relying on online reviews and Samsung's reputation. Extremely satisfied with both and the Best Buy sale price matched the most aggressive one online. Pricing was further enhanced by the BB 5% rewards and using a 1.5% rewards credit card to make the purchases.

    The ChiCom virus has permanently changed the way individuals shop and I don't see it going back to the way it was. Hardest hit are going to be the states and cities that implemented more enhanced lockdowns. Businesses are going to have to change and adapt to maintain profits.

    Blame the ChiComs not Best Buy or other merchants who are just adapting to keep their businesses sustainable.
    Reply
  • itzmec
    I stopped using brick and mortar buying a long time ago. Been doing all my shopping(electronics etc.,) online for well over a decade. I've been lucky over the years and haven't had to RMA , but one item. Vanns, Newegg, tiger direct, and my old fav that doesn't exist anymore zipzoomfly. Back in the day it might have been a project to RMA an item, but it has gotten a lot easier over the years.
    Reply
  • macgeek
    itzmec said:
    I stopped using brick and mortar buying a long time ago. Been doing all my shopping(electronics etc.,) online for well over a decade. I've been lucky over the years and haven't had to RMA , but one item. Vanns, Newegg, tiger direct, and my old fav that doesn't exist anymore zipzoomfly. Back in the day it might have been a project to RMA an item, but it has gotten a lot easier over the years.
    Thank you for contributing to unemployment.😠
    Reply