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Report: Best Buy Pondering Sales Staff Cuts

23 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Best Buy

Best Buy Co. is reportedly considering significant staff reductions at the store level in response to the ongoing recession.

The Minneapolis-based No. 1 consumer electronics retailer could demote nearly 8,000 senior sales associates to lower-paying positions, in addition to terminating nearly 1,000 assistant store managers, according to Colin McGranahan, analyst with Sanford Bernstein. The analyst’s comment in a research note was cited last week in the Wall Street Journal.

Electronics and appliance stores sales in March decreased 5.9% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 10% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Best Buy, which has heretofore resisted downsizing sales personnel, repeatedly stresses an employee-centric business model.

In addition, analysts say Best Buy is leery of following in the path of recently shuttered Circuit City, which downsized thousands of staffers to save money. The move was widely condemned, with the resulting public relations backlash preceding the chain’s demise.

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