BEST BUY CO., INC. is an American multinational consumer electronics
corporation headquartered in
Richfield, Minnesota , a Minneapolis
suburb. Internationally, it also operates in
Canada and Mexico. It was
formerly operational in China until February 2011 (when the faction
was merged with Five Star) and in Europe until 2012. The company was
Richard M. Schulze and Gary Smoliak in 1966 as an audio
specialty store. In 1983, it was renamed and rebranded with more
emphasis placed on consumer electronics.
Best Buy's subsidiaries include
Geek Squad , Magnolia Audio Video,
Pacific Sales .
Best Buy operates under the Best Buy, Best Buy
Mobile, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Insignia and Pacific Sales
brands in the United States; the Best Buy,
Geek Squad and Best Buy
Mobile brands in Canada;
Best Buy Mobile and Five Star in China; and
Best Buy Express, and
Geek Squad in Mexico.
Best Buy sells
cellular phones from
Verizon Wireless ,
AT&T Mobility , Sprint
Boost Mobile , and
T-Mobile US , in regular stores and
Best Buy Mobile stores in shopping malls.
Best Buy was
named "Company of the Year" by Forbes magazine in 2004, "Specialty
Retailer of the Decade" by Discount Store News in 2001, ranked in the
Top 10 of "America's Most Generous Corporations" by Forbes in 2005
(based on 2004 giving), and made Fortune magazine's list of "Most
Admired Companies" in 2006.
Hubert Joly serves as Best Buy's chairman
and CEO .
Yahoo! Finance ,
Best Buy is the largest specialty
retailer in the U.S. consumer electronics retail industry.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Early history
* 1.2 2000s
* 1.3 2010s
* 2 Corporate affairs
* 2.1 Business operations
* 2.2 House brands
* 3 Criticism
* 3.2 Pricing
* 3.3 Analog televisions
* 3.4 Environmental issues
* 4 References
* 5 External links
In August 1966,
Richard M. Schulze and a business partner opened
Sound of Music, an electronics store specializing in high fidelity
Saint Paul, Minnesota . Schulze financed the
opening of his first store with his personal savings and a second
mortgage he took out on his family’s home. In 1967, Sound of Music
acquired Kencraft Hi-Fi Company and Bergo Company. Sound of Music
earned $1 million in revenue and made about $58,000 in profits in its
first year. In 1969, Schulze bought out his business partner. Sound
of Music had three stores and became a publicly held company listed on
Sound of Music operated nine stores throughout
Minnesota by 1978. In
1981, the Roseville,
Minnesota , Sound of Music location, at the time
the largest and most profitable Sound of Music store, was hit by a
tornado. The store’s roof was sheared off and showroom destroyed,
but the storeroom was left intact. In response, Schulze decided to
have a “Tornado Sale” of damaged and excess stock in the damaged
store’s parking lot. He poured the remainder of his marketing
budget into advertising the sale, promising “best buys” on
everything. Sound of Music made more money during the four-day sale
than it did in a typical month.
In 1983, with seven stores and $10 million in annual sales, Sound of
Music was renamed
Best Buy Company, Inc. The company also expanded
its product offerings to include home appliances and VCRs , in an
attempt to expand beyond its then-core customer base of
15-to-18-year-old males. Later that year
Best Buy opened its first
superstore in Burnsville,
Minnesota . The Burnsville location
featured a high-volume, low price business model, which was borrowed
partially from Schulze’s successful Tornado Sale in 1981. In its
first year, the Burnsville store out-performed all other Best Buy
Best Buy debuted on the
New York Stock Exchange in 1987. In 1989,
the company introduced a new store concept dubbed “Concept II.”
Concept II replaced dimly lit industrial-style stores with brighter
and more fashionably fixtured stores. Stores also began placing all
stock on the sales floor rather than in a stock room, had fewer
salespersons and provided more self-help product information for its
Best Buy also did away with commissioned salespeople.
The commission-free sales environment “created a more relaxed
shopping environment free of the high-pressure sales tactics used in
other stores,” but was unpopular with salespersons and suppliers.
Some suppliers, such as
Maytag , Whirlpool and
Sony , were upset that
salespeople would no longer be pushing their products and stopped
selling their wares in
Best Buy stores. The suppliers returned after
Best Buy’s sales and revenue grew following the roll-out of Concept
In 1992, the company achieved $1 billion in annual revenues. In
Best Buy debuted “Concept III” stores, which were larger
than its previous stores. The Concept III stores included expanded
product offerings, interactive touchscreen kiosks that displayed
product information for both customers and employees, and
demonstration areas for products such as surround sound stereo systems
Best Buy launched its “Concept IV” stores with its expansion into
New England in 1998. Concept IV stores included an open layout with
products organized by category, cash registers located throughout the
store, and slightly smaller stores than Concept III stores. The
stores also had large areas for demonstrating home theater systems and
Best Buy was added to
Standard & Poor’s S"> Former Best
Buy Store located in
Shanghai, China , now closed and merged with Five
Best Buy Corporate Headquarters is located in Richfield,
Minnesota , a suburb of
Best Buy logo has
Mall of America
Mall of America since 2008.
Best Buy opens its
800th store in
Chicago, Illinois .
Best Buy formed Redline Entertainment, an independent music
label and action-sports video distributor. The company acquired
Magnolia Hi-Fi, Inc., an audio-video retailer located in
Oregon , in December 2000.
In January 2001,
Best Buy acquired Musicland Stores Corporation, a
Minnesota -based retailer that sold home entertainment
products under the Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, Media
Play and OnCue brands.
Best Buy purchased the company for $425
million in cash and the assumption of $271 million of Musicland debt.
Later that year,
Best Buy acquired the
British Columbia , Canada
Future Shop Ltd. , marking its entrance to
the international marketplace. Under the deal,
Future Shop was
purchased for approximately $377 million and continued to operate as
subsidiary independent from
Best Buy Canada.
Brad Anderson succeeded Richard Schulze as
Best Buy CEO in July 2002.
Anderson had begun working at
Best Buy in 1973 while attending
seminary school. He was promoted to vice president in 1981 and
executive vice president in 1986. Anderson had most recently served as
president and COO of Best Buy, a position he had held since 1991. In
September of that year,
Best Buy opened the first Canadian Best
Buy-branded store in Mississauga, Ontario . In October, Best Buy
Minnesota -based Geek Squad, then a 24-hour
residential computer repair business with offices in Minneapolis,
Chicago, Illinois , Los Angeles,
California and San Francisco,
Best Buy stores in the U.S. surpassed the 600-store mark and the
company opened its first global-sourcing office in
Shanghai, China in
2003. In June,
Best Buy divested itself of Musicland in a deal with
Sun Capital Partners under which Sun Capital received all of
Musicland’s stock and debt.
Best Buy launched its “Reward Zone”
loyalty program in July following an 8-month test of the program in
California . Also in 2003, Best Buy’s corporate offices
were consolidated into a single campus in
Richfield, Minnesota .
In January 2004,
Best Buy hired Virtucom Group to revamp Best Buy’s
website and handle all of the company’s online content. In May, the
company launched its “customer centricty” program, which segmented
its stores according to customer profiles. The program also called
for employees to focus on specific customer groups rather than product
categories. In October,
Best Buy completed rolling out Geek Squad
“precincts” in every American
Best Buy store.
In April 2005,
Best Buy began eliminating mail-in rebates in response
to negative customer reaction against them, and instead started giving
out instant rebates via notebook computers.
In May 2006,
Best Buy acquired a majority interest in Chinese
appliance retailer Jiangsu Five Star Appliance for $180 million. At
the time of the deal, Jiangsu was the fourth-largest appliance chain
in China with 193 stores across eight Chinese provinces. In June, the
Geek Squad precincts at
Office Depot in Orlando,
Florida . The market test was later expanded to
Denver Colorado .
In January 2007, the first Best Buy-branded store in China officially
opened in Shanghai, China. In March 2007,
Best Buy acquired
Speakeasy, a Seattle, Washington -based broadband VOIP , data and IT
services provider. The acquisition was worth $80 million and, under
terms of the deal, Speakeasy began operating as a wholly owned
subsidiary of Best Buy. The company’s products also became part of
Best Buy’s For Business program.
Best Buy also expanded its Geek
Squad market tests in March, opening
Geek Squad precincts in FedEx
Kinkos stores located in Indianapolis, Indiana and Charlotte, North
Carolina . In October 2007,
Best Buy became the first
consumer-electronics retailer to exit the analog television market,
carrying only digital products that became mandatory in June 2009 by
the FCC .
In February 2008,
Best Buy opened its first store in San Juan, Puerto
Rico . Best Buy’s
Geek Squad market tests in
Office Depot and FedEx
Kinkos stores ended by March. Also in March, the company began
promoting the Blu-ray optical-disc format over the
HD DVD format, a
move which ultimately contributed to Toshiba's decision to drop HD
DVD. In May, the company agreed to buy 50% of the retail division of
The Carphone Warehouse, a London, England -based mobile phone
retailer. The deal was worth $2.1 billion.
In July 2008,
Best Buy announced that it would start selling musical
instruments and related gear in over 80 of its retail stores, making
the company the second-largest musical-instrument distributor in the
Best Buy became the first third-party retail seller of Apple’s
iPhone in September. Later that month, the company agreed to acquire
Napster for $121 million. In December,
Best Buy opened its first
store in Mexico.
In February 2009,
Best Buy leveraged its partnership with The
Carphone Warehouse to launch
Best Buy Mobile, a Best Buy-branded
Best Buy Mobile standalone stores were opened in
shopping malls and urban downtowns.
Best Buy Mobile were also added
in all Best Buy-branded stores.
In June 2009, Brian Dunn became
Best Buy CEO. Dunn replaced Brad
Anderson, who was retiring. Dunn had joined
Best Buy in 1985 as a
sales associate. In 2000, Dunn became senior vice president of East
Coast operations and president of North American retail operations in
2004. He had most recently served as president of Best Buy, a
position he had held since 2006.
Best Buy partnered with Roxio's
CinemaNow to launch an on-demand
movie download service that would allow customers to stream content to
any device sold by
Best Buy that connected to the Internet in November
2009. In December, the first Turkish
Best Buy opened in
Best Buy store in
Germantown, Maryland that opened in 2002.
In April 2010,
Best Buy opened its first
United Kingdom -based Best
Buy-branded store in
Thurrock . The company eventually opened 11 Best
Buy stores in the United Kingdom. The company closed all UK-based
Best Buy stores in November 2011. That same month
Best Buy purchased
The Carphone Warehouse’s share of
Best Buy Mobile for $1.3 billion.
Best Buy and The Carphone Warehouse maintained their
Best Buy Europe
joint venture, which at the time operated 2,500 mobile phone stores
The company closed all of its Best Buy-branded stores in China by
February 2011, when it merged
Best Buy China’s operations with
Jiangsu Five Star, which had become a wholly owned subsidiary of Best
Buy in 2009. In December 2011,
Best Buy purchased mindSHIFT
Technologies, a company that provided IT support for small and
medium-sized businesses, for $167 million.
In 2012, in response to overall revenue decline,
Best Buy announced
plans to undergo a "transformation strategy". Stores began to adopt a
redesigned "Connected Store" format, providing the
Geek Squad with a
centralized service desk and implementing a "store-within-a-store"
concept for Pacific Kitchen 65 of its 131 former locations were
Best Buy locations, while the rest (primarily those in
close proximity to an existing Best Buy) were closed permanently.
In a 2017
LA Times report, Joly's decisions to match rival's prices
so that in-store shoppers no longer needed to buy elsewhere, speeding
up delivery times for online purchases, allowing for other companies
such as Samsung, Microsoft and Verizon to set up "stores within the
stores", and giving more training for employees in order to better
explain products to shoppers all have enabled
Best Buy to stay
successful while some of its rivals failed.
Best Buy Store in Edmonton, Alberta
Best Buy Mobile in
Exton Square Mall in January 2016. Map of
Best Buy stores
in the Continental U.S and Southern Canada, as of August 2011
Salesman demonstrating the Apple iPad 2 (June 2011) See also: Best
Best Buy sells consumer electronics and a variety of related
merchandise, including software, video games, music, VHS cassettes and
VCRs, mobile phones, digital cameras, car stereos and video cameras,
in addition to home appliances (washing machines, dryers, and
refrigerators), in a non-commissioned sales environment. Under the
Geek Squad brand,
Best Buy offers computer repair, warranty service,
and accidental service plans.
The building exteriors of Best Buy-branded stores are typically light
brown, with the entrance designed to look like a blue box emerging
from the structure. Corporate employees operated under a results only
work environment from 2005 until March 2013, when the management style
was abandoned by
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly.
As of October 29, 2016,
Best Buy operated 1,026 Best Buy, 331 Best
Buy Mobile stand-alone stores and 28 stand-alone
Pacific Sales stores
in the US.
Best Buy also operated: 135
Best Buy and 53 Best Buy
Mobile stand-alone stores in Canada; and 18
Best Buy stores and 5 Best
Buy Express stores in Mexico.
Best Buy exited the European market in
Best Buy also produces products under eight house brands :
* Dynex – Discount electronic and computer equipment such as
HDTVs, Blu-ray players, storage media, data and power cables, webcams,
and office supplies.
* RocketFish – Cables primarily used with home-theater
installation and setup as well as on computer and gaming accessories.
RocketFish Mobile includes phone cases, gel skins, clips and chargers
for cell phones, GPS, and other exclusive high-end products.
* Insignia – Electronic equipment such as HDTVs, tablets,
home-theater systems, and digital imaging devices.
* Modal – Used for style-oriented mobile accessories, including
cases, cables, and Bluetooth speakers.
* Platinum – Highest-quality in-house brand for the company,
producing many products, such as cables, cell phone accessories,
tablet accessories, and digital imaging equipment.
* Init – Storage products such as media storage, equipment bags,
totes and furniture for home theaters.
Pacific Sales – High-end appliance selection inside select Best
* Magnolia Home Theater – High-end home theater selection for both
audio and visual equipment, including 4K, 3D, and large televisions,
projectors, receivers, and speakers. Magnolia Home Theater is found in
Best Buy locations. Magnolia Home Theater also has a group
called the Magnolia Design Center, where custom home theater setups
can be designed and installed.
In 2000, two Florida consumers brought a lawsuit against the company,
alleging that it engaged in fraudulent business practices related to
the sale of extended warranties (or, more accurately, service plans ).
The suit claimed that store employees had misrepresented the
manufacturer's warranty in order to sell its own Product
Service/Replacement Plan and that
Best Buy had "entered into a
corporate-wide scheme to institute high-pressure sales techniques
involving the extended warranties" and that the company used
"artificial barriers to discourage consumers who purchased the
'complete extended warranties' from making legitimate claims." The
company ultimately settled for $200,000 but admitted no wrongdoing.
Best Buy settled for $4.55 million in a class action lawsuit
filed against them in April 2010 by consumers who claimed
Best Buy was
making unsolicited phone calls in contravention of the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act .
In the second quarter of 2007,
Connecticut Attorney General Richard
Blumenthal ordered an investigation into the company's use of an
in-store website alleged to have misled customers on item sales
prices. In December 2007, the
Los Angeles Times reported on the same
issue, in which some customers claimed they thought they were surfing
the Internet version of bestbuy.com at an in-store kiosk only to learn
that the site reflected in-store prices only. In response, company
spokesperson Sue Busch indicated the in-store kiosks were not intended
for price-match purposes and rather were a means to navigate in-store
availability. Since the initial investigation, a banner was placed on
the in-store site to make its customers more aware of the difference.
Similar pricing errors occurred in July 2009, when the Palm Pre
multimedia smartphone was mistakenly sold for $99.99 (versus the
retail price of $199.99), and
Best Buy honored some of the sales. Best
Buy regularly exercises the right to cancel orders associated with
errors on its website.
In April 2008, the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined
the company $280,000 for not alerting customers that the analog
televisions it sold would not receive over-the-air stations after the
digital transition on June 12, 2009. The company challenged this
ruling in May 2008 by the FCC saying it was and is in compliance with
current FCC regulations pertaining to the digital transition.
It was one of several large companies named by
Greenpeace in 2007 for
purchasing raw materials or manufactured products derived thereof from
logging companies that, in the opinion of Greenpeace, contribute to
unethical deforestation of taiga in Canada.
Since that time, however, the company launched what it calls Greener
Together to increase the energy efficiency of its products as well as
reduce consumer waste through more recyclable packaging and proper
disposal of certain electronic components such as rechargeable
batteries, and empty ink cartridges.
As a way to improve its image and past environmental issues, the
company introduced a recycling program in 2009 that has since
collected nearly half-a-billion pounds of consumer electronics and
e-waste and is available at all their stores for free. These items are
then handed over to certified recyclers in the U.S. for proper
recycling. The company's goal is to collect one billion pounds of
It also has been named to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
top-50 list of the largest green-power purchasers. In 2011, the
company purchased nearly 119 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green
power – electricity generated from renewable resources, such as
wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydropower.
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