Rightsizing Best Buy

This fall Best Buy will close stores in Edina, Brooklyn Center, Hutchinson, Lakeville and Rogers.

The closings are part of a move by Best Buy to shut down 50 of its some 1,100 big-box stores nationwide.

Best Buy will test new formats for the 19 big-box stores that will remain in the Twin Cities region. The remodeled locations will feature expanded Geek Squad services, a knowledge desk to assist customers, and enhanced in-store pick-up services for customers who order online. Some stores may even have kitchen and bath departments.

Some stores may get smaller. The average Best Buy store has nearly 40,000 square feet of space. That’s nearly one acre. The majority of Best Buy stores are bigger than an acre.

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Analysts say the stores are too big and are out-of-step with the times, as consumer electronics products get more compact and more and more people get movies and music in a digital format, not on discs.

Best Buy had already been shrinking its big-box stores and opening more Best Buy Mobile stores, small shops that focus on selling smart phones and related devices. Best Buy has about 300 of them now, and it plans to have as many as 800 eventually.

The closing of the five stores will affect 301 employees. Best Buy said it will try to find jobs for them elsewhere in the company. In addition Best Buy said it will eliminate 400 corporate and support positions. Those cuts are likely to fall heavily in Best Buy’s Richfield headquarters. The moves are all designed to reduce expenses by $800 million over the next two years.

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