Best Buy Co., Inc. is an American multinational consumer electronics
retailer headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. It was originally
Richard M. Schulze and James Wheeler in 1966 as
an audio specialty store called Sound of Music. In 1983, it was
rebranded under its current name with more emphasis placed on consumer
Best Buy also operates in
Canada and Mexico, and was
formerly operational in China until February 2011 (when the faction
was merged with Five Star) and in Europe until 2012. Its
subsidiaries include Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, and Pacific
Best Buy also operates the
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile and Insignia brands
in North America, plus Five Star in China.
Best Buy sells
cellular phones from Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint
Corporation in the United States. In Canada, carriers
include Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless,
Telus Mobility, their fighter
brands, and competing smaller carriers, such as SaskTel.
Best Buy was named "Company of the Year" by Forbes magazine in
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), made Fortune magazine's list of "Most Admired
Companies" in 2006. and "The Most Sustainable Company in
the United States" by Barron's in 2019. Hubert Joly
currently serves as Best Buy's chairman and CEO, to be succeeded by
Corie Barry in June 2019. According to Yahoo!
Best Buy is the largest specialty retailer in the United
States consumer electronics retail industry. The company
ranked No. 72 in the 2018
Fortune 500 list of the largest United
States corporations by total revenue.
1.1 Early history
2 Corporate affairs
2.1 Business operations
2.2 House brands
3.3 Analog televisions
3.4 Environmental issues
5 Further reading
6 External links
Sound of Music logo from 1966 until 1983
On August 28, 1966,
Richard M. Schulze and a business partner opened
Sound of Music, an electronics store specializing in high fidelity
stereos in St. Paul,
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, Sound of Music had three stores and
Schulze bought out his business partner.
Sound of Music operated nine stores throughout
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.
Best Buy Co. Superstores logo from 1983 until 1984
Best Buy Superstores logo from 1984 until 1989
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 stores
Best Buy logo from 1989 until May 9, 2018, still used in Canada.
Best Buy debuted on the
New York Stock Exchange
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 1995,
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 and
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 computer
Best Buy was added to Standard & Poor's S&P
Best Buy at the Renaissance Center in Durham, North Carolina
Best Buy Store located in Shanghai, China, now closed and
merged with Five Star.
Best Buy Corporate Headquarters is located in Richfield, Minnesota,
a suburb of Minneapolis
Best Buy logo has appeared at
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
California, Washington and Oregon, in December 2000.
In January 2001,
Best Buy acquired
Musicland Stores Corporation, a
Minnetonka, 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-based electronics-chain
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 acquired Minneapolis-based
Geek Squad, then a 24-hour residential computer repair business with
offices in Minneapolis, Chicago,
Los Angeles and San
Best Buy stores in the U.S. surpassed the 600-store mark and the
company opened its first global-sourcing office 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 San Diego, 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
Geek Squad "precincts" in every American Best Buy
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 company opened
Geek Squad precincts at
Office Depot in
Orlando, Florida. The market test was later expanded to
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
Geek Squad market tests in March, opening
Geek Squad precincts in
FedEx Kinkos stores located in
Indianapolis 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
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
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 mobile
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile standalone stores were opened in shopping
malls and urban downtowns. These
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile outlets 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
Best Buy stores in the United Kingdom. The company closed
Best Buy stores in November 2011. That same month Best
Buy purchased The Carphone Warehouse's share of
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile for
Best Buy and The Carphone Warehouse maintained their
Best Buy Europe
Best Buy Europe joint venture, which at the time operated 2,500 mobile
phone stores throughout Europe.
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 & Bath and Magnolia Design
In April 2012, Brian Dunn resigned as Best Buy's CEO during an
internal company investigation into allegations of personal misconduct
stemming from an inappropriate relationship with a female Best Buy
Best Buy named Director George L. Mikan III
interim CEO following Dunn's resignation. The internal
investigation was released in May 2012 and alleged that Best Buy
founder and chairman Richard Schulze knew of Dunn's inappropriate
relationship and failed to notify the
Best Buy board.
Schulze subsequently resigned his chairmanship of the
Best Buy Director Hatim Tyabji replaced Schulze
Best Buy chairman.
Hubert Joly replaced Mikan as
Best Buy CEO in September
2012. Joly had previously served as CEO of Carlson, a
hospitality conglomerate, since 2008. He led initiatives
such as price matching, speeding up delivery times for online
purchases, establishing "store within a store" sections for major
brands such as Apple, Google,
Microsoft and Samsung, and giving more
product training to employees.
In April 2013,
Best Buy exited the European consumer electronics
market when it sold its 50% stake in Carphone Warehouse back to the
UK-based mobile phone retailer. The sale was
worth approximately $775 million.
An increasing trend towards online shopping began to erode revenues
and profits in the 2010s. A 4% dip in sales for the June 30, 2014
quarter, marked the tenth quarter in a row where Best Buy's sales had
declined. The company, in announcing the result, said it was focusing
more on digital-media in its marketing, moving away from newspaper,
magazine, and television advertising.
On March 28, 2015,
Best Buy announced the shutdown of the Future Shop
chain in Canada; 65 of its 131 former locations were converted into
Best Buy locations, while the rest (primarily those in close proximity
to an existing Best Buy) were closed permanently.
On March 1, 2018, the company announced that it would shut down its
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile stores in the
United States by the end
of May, due to low revenue and high costs. The
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile stores
were reported to account for 1 percent of the company's
On May 9, 2018, the company unveiled a new logo for the first time in
nearly three decades.
On July 2, 2018,
Best Buy announced it was cutting the amount of store
space devoted to selling physical music, citing the popularity of
streaming services as having reduced sales.
On April 15, 2019,
Best Buy announced its current CFO, Corie Barry,
will be its next CEO. She will replace Hubert Joly, who
served as CEO since August of 2012.
Best Buy Store in Edmonton, Alberta
Best Buy Mobile
Best Buy Mobile located in the Brass Mill Center,
Best Buy stores in the Continental U.S and Southern Canada,
as of August 2011
Salesman demonstrating the Apple iPad 2 (June 2011)
Best Buy Europe
Best Buy sells consumer electronics and a variety of related
merchandise, including software, video games, music, 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
Best Buy offers computer repair, warranty service, and
accidental service plans.
Best Buy provides an online
community forum for members, where consumers can discuss product
experiences, ask questions and get answers from other members or
retail product experts.
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
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
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 April 2013.
Best Buy also produces products under eight house brands:
Dynex – Discount electronic and computer equipment such as
Blu-ray players, data and power cables, HDTVs, office supplies,
storage media, and webcams
Init – Storage products such as media storage, equipment bags,
totes, and furniture for home theaters
Insignia – Electronic equipment, small appliances, and
accessories including adapters, cables, HDTVs, mini refrigerators, and
Magnolia Design Center (in select
Best Buy stores) - design and
installation of custom home theater setups
Magnolia Home Theater (in select
Best Buy stores) – High-end
home theater selections for both audio and visual equipment, including
4K, 3D, and large televisions, projectors, receivers, and speakers
Modal – style-oriented mobile accessories, including Bluetooth
speakers, cables, and cases
Pacific Sales (in select
Best Buy stores) – High-end appliances
Platinum – Highest-quality in-house brand for the company,
producing many products, such as cables, cell phone accessories,
tablet accessories, and digital imaging equipment
RocketFish – Cables primarily used with home-theater
installation and setup as well as on computer and gaming accessories
RocketFish Mobile – Phone cases, gel skins, clips, and chargers
for cell phones, GPS, and other exclusive high-end products
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.
On April 26, 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
Best Buy was one of several companies named in a 2007 report by
Greenpeace 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
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 a nominal fee. 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
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
Best Buy Co., Inc. Form 10-K (FY February 3, 2018)". U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved June 6,
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it works its way through the recession". Star-Tribune.
^ "Best Buy's Dunn Leaves Mixed Legacy". TWICE. April 23, 2012.
^ JACKIE CROSBY. "
Best Buy to offer movie downloads". Star Tribune.
Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ Richard Smirke (April 27, 2010). "
Best Buy Unveils First U.K.
^ Miguel Bustillo; Kathy Gordon (November 8, 2011). "
Best Buy Leaves
U.K., Reboots Phone Venture". The Wall Street Journal.
Best Buy closes China outlets, poor grasp of local market blamed".
Xinhua News Agency. February 28, 2011.
^ Josh Gingold. "
Best Buy boldly leaping into managed IT services for
small business". Zdnet. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ Reisinger, Don (March 24, 2011). "
Best Buy Revenue, Earnings Slip in
4th Quarter – During the Three-Month Span That Included the Prime
Holiday Sales Period, the Consumer Electronics
Retailer Took Its
Biggest Hit in Entertainment Hardware and Software". CNET. Retrieved
August 9, 2012.
^ a b c d e Ed Stych. "Report: Dunn resigned as
Best Buy CEO amid
investigation over possible personal misconduct". Minneapolis/St. Paul
Business Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ a b Kim Bhasin. "
Best Buy Is Bringing In A Master Turnaround
Artist". Business Insider. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ "Why the grim reaper of retail hasn't come to claim Best Buy". July
17, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
^ a b c ANN ZIMMERMAN. "
Best Buy Sells Europe Business Back to
Carphone Warehouse". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ a b c Chris Burritt; Sarah Shannon. "
Best Buy Exits Europe With
Stake Sale to Carphone Warehouse". Bloomberg News. Retrieved January
Best Buy looks to new products to push sales". Minneapolis
News.Net. August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
Future Shop shutters Canadian stores, will re-brand as Best Buy".
The Globe and Mail. March 28, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
Best Buy is closing all 250 of its mobile stores in the US". The
Verge. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
^ Blumenthal, Eli (May 9, 2018). "For the first time in nearly 30
years, Best Buy's logo is getting a refresh". USA Today. Retrieved May
^ Morris, Chris (July 2, 2018). "End of a Era:
Best Buy Significantly
Cuts Back on CDs". Fortune. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
^ "Welcome to the
Best Buy Forums".
Best Buy Forums. Retrieved
September 20, 2018.
^ Best Buy. Encyclopedia of Business in Today's World, Volume 1.
Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ THOMAS LEE. "
Best Buy ends flexible work program for its corporate
employees". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ HUBERT JOLY. "
Best Buy CEO on leadership: A comment I made was
misconstrued". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
^ John H. Beisner and Jessian Davidson Miller (September 2001).
"They're Making a Federal Case out of It ... In State Court". Center
for Legal Policy at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Civil
Justice Report. Archived from the original on July 22, 2005. Retrieved
August 8, 2012.
^ "UPDATE 2-
Best Buy settles class-action bias lawsuit". Reuters. June
17, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
Best Buy agrees to $4.55 million settlement in TCPA class action".
Legal Newsline. June 17, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
^ Staff (May 27, 2007). "
Best Buy Accused of Overcharging In-Store
Associated Press (via CNBC). Retrieved August 8, 2012.
^ Lazarus, David (December 23, 2007). "
Best Buy Kiosks Not Connected
Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
^ Puzzanghera, Jim (April 11, 2008). "Retailers Fined over Digital TV
– Consumers Are Being Deceived About the Upcoming Demise of Analog,
the FCC Says".
Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April
15, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
^ Ogg, Erica (May 19, 2008). "
Best Buy challenges FCC over analog TV
sales penalty". CNET. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
^ Green Peace (August 20, 2007). "Companies Revealed To Be Purchasing
Forest Destruction – Three Logging Firms Responsible for Majority of
Destruction of Boreal Forest" (Press release). Greenpeace. Archived
from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
^ Jennifer Berry (January 26, 2009). "
Best Buy To Launch E-cycling at
All Locations". Retrieved January 1, 2013.
^ Aston, Adam (April 24, 2012). "How
Best Buy Makes Money Recycling
America's Electronics". GreenBiz. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
Best Buy Recognized Among Nation's Green Powered
Organizations by U.S. EPA –
Best Buy Reduces Carbon Emissions
Through Renewable Energy Alternativaes" (Press release).
Best Buy (via
Reuters Investor Relation Services). May 11, 2012. Retrieved
August 8, 2012.
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Roose, Kevin (September 18, 2017). "Best Buy's Secrets for Thriving in
the Amazon Age". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
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