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Best Buy Logo (1989–present in United States, 2008–2012 in Europe (including United Kingdom/Ireland))
|Founded||West Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S. (1966 as Sound of Music/1983 as Best Buy Co. Superstores (Best Buy Superstores Co.)/1989 as Best Buy (formerly known as Best Buy Superstores))|
|Founder(s)||Richard M. Schulze|
|Headquarters||Richfield, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Revenue||US$ 49.183 billion (FY 2013)|
|Operating income||US $1.252 billion (FY 2013)|
|Net income||US$ -481 million (FY 2013)|
|Total assets||US$ 16.787 billion (FY 2013)|
|Total equity||US$ 3.715 billion (FY 2013)|
Best Buy is an American multinational consumer electronics corporation headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. It also operates in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and China. The company was founded by 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 CinemaNow, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales, Cowboom, and in Canada operates under both the Best Buy and Future Shop labels. Together, they operate over 1,150 stores in addition to over 100 Best Buy Express automated retail stores or "ZoomShops", operated by Zoom Systems, in airports and malls around the U.S.Best Buy also makes its own brands such as Insignia. Best Buy also sells cellular phones with phones from Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, Boost Mobile, and T-Mobile, in regular stores and standalone 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. After rival retailer Circuit City went bankrupt in 2009, financial analysts predicted that Best Buy would be next, as online purchases were growing dominant. But after strong Christmas sales in 2012, Best Buy was given more positive prospects.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate affairs
- 3 Criticism and controversies
- 4 References
- 5 External links
In 1966, Richard M. Schulze and his business partner Gary Smoliak opened Sound of Music, an audio specialty store, in West Saint Paul, Minnesota; two additional locations were later opened near the University of Minnesota and in uptown Minneapolis. In 1967, Sound of Music acquired Kencraft Hi-Fi Company and Bergo Company, and ended its first year with gross sales of $173,000 (USD). In 1969, its stock began trading as a publicly held company, and enacted its first employee stock-option plan. Three additional stores were opened in the Twin Cities area. In 1970, Sound of Music made $1 million (USD) in annual revenues. In 1979, it became the first suppliers of video and laserdisc equipment brands including Panasonic, Magnavox, Sony and Sharp.
On June 14, 1981, the Sound of Music location in Roseville, Minnesota was hit by a tornado. In response, the company held a "Tornado Sale" (promoted as a "Best Buy"), and became an annual event. In 1983, with the permission of the board of directors, Sound of Music was renamed Best Buy Co., Inc. and expanded its product range to include consumer electronics and home appliances. Its first superstore was opened in Burnsville, Minnesota, featuring expanded selling space, a large assortment of discounted brand-name products (including videocassette recorders), central service, and warehouse distribution. In 1985, Best Buy debuted on the New York Stock Exchange with an offering of 8.3 million shares. In 1987, the company introduced its current "yellow tag" logo, and introduced a "grab-and-go" store format in 1989. The following year, Best Buy eliminated commissions for standalone sales people, but retained bonuses for management and supervisors. In 1992, it hit the $1 billion mark in annual revenues. In 1994, the company expanded to the Maryland and Virginia markets. In 1997, it became the first national retailer to sell DVD hardware and software.. In 1998, the company sponsored Enchanted Tour of singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks. In 2000, it launched its online store and acquired Magnolia Audio Video, a retailer of high-end consumer electronics. At this time, music compact cassettes were removed from most locations.
In 2001, Best Buy acquired the Canada-based electronics-chain Future Shop Ltd., marking its entrance to the international marketplace. Future Shop remains a separate entity operating independently from Best Buy Canada. Best Buy acquired Musicland, a mall-based retailer of music and entertainment software. Best Buy launched Redline Entertainment, an independent music label and action-sports video distributor. In 2002, Brad Anderson succeeded Schulze as Best Buy's chief executive officer and acquired Geek Squad, a 24-hour computer-support taskforce. The first Canadian Best Buy store opened in Mississauga, Ontario. In 2003, Best Buy stores in the U.S. surpassed the 600-store mark. It opened its first global-sourcing office in Shanghai, China; its corporate offices were consolidated in one headquarter campus and divested itself of Musicland. The company began to segment its stores, which is considered a major part of the company's "customer centricity" transformation and introduced the Reward Zone loyalty program in the U.S.[when?] In 2004, the Virtucom Group of Syracuse, New York was hired to handle all online content for Best Buy which generated over $3 billion per year in revenues. In 2004, Geek Squad precincts were opened in every location nationwide, offering in-store service during business hours.
In 2006, the company acquired a majority interest in the retail chain Jiangsu Five Star Appliance Co., Ltd., China's fourth-largest appliance chain. On January 26, 2007, the first Best Buy in China had its grand opening – touted as the largest Best Buy in existence. In March, the company announced plans to purchase Seattle, Washington-based Speakeasy, Inc., a broadband and VOIP services provider. Best Buy became the first major retailer to exit the analog television market, carrying only digital products that became mandatory in June 2009 by the FCC. In 2007, the company launched mini-Geek Squad precincts in Office Depots in Orlando, Florida and Denver, Colorado. It also launched mini-Geek Squad precincts in FedEx Kinko's in Indianapolis, Indiana and Charlotte, North Carolina. These test markets were ended in late 2007 through early 2008. In February 2011, it closed all of its own-brand stores in China, but planned to reopen two by the end of the year.
On October 24, 2008, the company opened its 1,000th store, located in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. In 2008, it also announced the opening of its first pilot stores in Puerto Rico and Mexico, as well as another store in Shanghai. The company decided to promote 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, it agreed to buy a 50% holding in the retail division of The Carphone Warehouse, a UK-based mobile-phone operation; the company also announced that it would open branded superstores in the UK and other European countries. On July 29, the company announced that it would start selling musical instruments and related gear in over 80 of its retail stores (growing to over 100 stores by 2010), making the company the second-largest musical-instrument distributor in the US (the largest being Guitar Center). In early summer, the company announced its addition of Best Buy Mobile to every store. On September 7, it became the first third party to sell Apple's iPhone, adding it to all Best Buy Mobile stores. In mid-September, the company announced its planned acquisition of Napster for $121 million. A different Best Buy logo, a tag with yellow outline and the "Best Buy" text outside the tag, began to appear in some stores and in some company websites. It was unclear if this logo would replace the current one.
On March 9, 2009, Best Buy became the largest electronics retail store (online and bricks and mortar) in the eastern United States, after smaller rival Circuit City went out of business. Fry's Electronics remains a major competitor in the western United States, while hhgregg remains competitive in the eastern United States. Many locations feature in-store pickup, which can be arranged through the company's website. In 2009, Best Buy Canada, in partnership with The Carphone Warehouse, opened a Best Buy Mobile store-within-a-store at all Best Buy locations. During October 2009, the website BestBuy.com had a facelift. The font used in the site was changed to the font seen in the alternative logo that had appeared in 2008. In November, Best Buy announced plans to team 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. On December 19, the first Best Buy store in Turkey opened in İzmir.
In 2010, Best Buy announced a joint venture with The Carphone Warehouse in which it would open branded superstores in the United Kingdom and other European countries. While stores were opened in the UK (with plans for up to 200), the initiative was delayed until the second quarter of 2010 due to the state of the retail market. The first two locations opened at The Junction retail park near Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, Essex; and near Southampton, Hampshire, at Prupim's Hedge End Retail Park. Four additional stores were opened by the end of 2010, with five more planned for the following year. However, the company's financial struggles in the region led to the closure of Best Buy Europe by the end of 2011; instead, the company concentrated on its Carphone Warehouse outlets. Best Buy also closed a Future Shop location in Montreal's St. Laurent borough.
In 2011, during the three-month period ended February 26, the company saw its revenue and profits slide, generating a profit of $651 million and revenue of $16.26 billion. In comparison to the same period in 2010, it tallied $15.55 billion in revenue and a $779 million profit. In 2012, in response to the 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 Center. In addition, the company closed fifty stores in the U.S., including a high-profile location on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
On April 10, 2012, Brian J. Dunn resigned as the company's chief executive officer during an investigation into possible personal misconduct. Director G. Mike Mikan was named the company's interim CEO. In July, the company planned to cut 2,400 store and Geek Squad jobs, starting immediately, according to a person familiar with the plans. The company began to shift its focus to Best Buy Mobile stores, primarily in shopping malls. On August 20, 2012, it was announced that Hubert Joly would be the full time CEO replacing Interim CEO G. Mike Mikan effective September 2012.
Best Buy sells consumer electronics and a variety of related merchandise, including software, video games, music, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, mobile phones, digital camera, car stereos and video cameras, in addition to home appliances (washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators), in a non-commissioned sales environment. Each store includes installation of car audio and video equipment, on-site installation services, as well as a Geek Squad "precinct" for computer repair and warranty service and accidental service plans. The building exteriors are typically light brown, with the entrance designed to look like a blue box emerging from the structure. Older locations have a more utilitarian brick building without the blue structure. Corporate employees are under a policy of Results Only Work Environment, and is increasingly being integrated at the store level. In April 2005, the company was the first major retailer to announce the elimination of all mail-in rebates.
During September 2008, in an effort to eliminate losses from the Product Replacement Plan, an expanded warranty for smaller electronics, Best Buy changed their product guarantee system to Geek Squad Gadgets and Gizmos. A notable change under the plan sees customers' gaming consoles sent to a refurbishing site if a hardware failure occurs after 30 days, instead of replacing it with a new one. The title "Gadgets and Gizmos" has since been eliminated, without change to the service procedures. Its Performance Service Plan, offered on many bigger ticket items, became Geek Squad Protection. It includes variable levels of coverage; the standard-level plan operates similarly to the previous system, while new premium-level plans has extra services including limited, free telephone troubleshooting; multi-year Geek Squad anti-virus and spyware protection; HDTV calibration; preventative maintenance checks on major appliances; accidental damage coverage; a 20% trade-in bonus; and prioritization of service claims. Additionally, customers who purchase Geek Squad Protection can claim points that, when accumulated on a Best Buy Reward Zone account, can be used toward future purchases from the store or online.
As of December 28, 2008[update], the company operated 1,010 Best Buy Stores, 13 Magnolia Audio Video Stores (specializing in high-end electronics), 7 stand-alone Geek Squad stores, 3 AudioVisions Stores, 13 Best Buy Mobile Stores (standalone) and 17 Pacific Sales stores (in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada), all through its U.S. retail subsidiary. They also operate 51 Best Buy and 140 Future Shop stores throughout Canada. In 2003, the company opened its first international global procurement office in Shanghai, and also operates sourcing offices in Beijing and Shenzhen, primarily to reduce costs and increase the speed to market by purchasing products directly from manufacturers. As of January 2009[update], Best Buy operated five "branded" stores in Shanghai, one "premium" store in Beijing, as well as 151 Five Star Appliance Stores in China. The company operates numerous Best Buy Mobile stores within the U.S. as a joint venture with The Carphone Warehouse, using its successful UK business model. Best Buy Mobile locations offer customers a wider variety of cell phones than their other locations, some of which are "unlocked" phones that can be used on any GSM network. Best Buy Mobile also offers services comparable to those from carrier stores, including but not limited to a number transfer machine, warranty service on any phone, loaner phones, and the most popular carriers. Most current[when?] Best Buy Mobile stores are located in or near the Northeast region of the U.S., though the company is expanding such that most or all U.S. locations will include Best Buy Mobile services by the end of 2008.
With the acquisition of Seattle-based Speakeasy, Inc., Best Buy will be able to offer broadband and VoIP services to small businesses through their Best Buy for Business unit. Best Buy launched Best Buy Connect on July 2010 to offer its own brand of mobile broadband to commercial customers. On March 28, 2011, with the partnership of Clearwire, 4G broadband was added to Best Buy Connect's offerings. The domain bestbuy.com attracted at least 159 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey. On February 15, 2009, the company started an electronics recycling program. In late August 2010, Best Buy launched Video Game Trade-Ins and was now buying used video games, just like GameStop. The Game Trade-Ins were located in over 600 Best Buy Stores in the U.S. On November 12, 2010, the first "Connected" Best Buy were to open in South Charleston, West Virginia. The "Connected" store was the first of many prototype stores that were being tested in select stores in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Las Vegas, Nevada, markets. These stores presented more opportunities for networking and connections outside of normal electronics. Former Best Buy chief executive Brian Dunn described it as a "connected world strategy" to set Best Buy apart from other electronics retailers. Customer Centricity is the name of a former business movement centered on catering to specific customer needs and behaviors. One of the things the company did for some segments was to create a personal shopping assistant, so that a customer could call and make an appointment for their shopping trip.
- Dynex – Discount electronic and computer equipment such as HDTVs, Blu-ray players, storage media, data and power cables, webcams, and office supplies. It is the company's more limited house brand. Not to be confused with Dynix. Its name and logo parody now-defunct telecommunications company NYNEX.
- Geek Squad – Repairs of old computers and setup of new computers with various software and hardware upgrades. Also includes a repair service for all major appliances and TVs, both in-home and in-store
- Init – Storage products such as media storage, equipment bags, totes and furniture for home theaters.
- Insignia – Discount electronic equipment such as HDTVs, Blu-ray players, home-theater systems, digital imaging and GPS devices. It is the company's signature house brand that competes with more well-known brand names.
- Platinum Cases – Cases and belt clips for BlackBerry and Android Cell Phones. Manufactured by Seidio.
- RocketFish – Cables primarily used with home-theater installation and setup as well as on computer and gaming accessories.
- RocketFish Gaming – Gaming division of RocketFish.
- RocketFish Mobile – Cases, gel skins, clips and chargers for cell phones, GPS, and other select products.
- vpr Matrix – Personal computers and accessories including desktops, notebooks and computer monitors. (2002–2003)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2010)|
- Best Buy sponsors a number of Baseball clubs, including the Minnesota Twins.
- Best Buy also sponsors the "Kiss Cam" at Busch Stadium for St. Louis Cardinals games.
- Best Buy was the jersey sponsor for MLS team Chicago Fire from 2008 to 2010.
- Best Buy is a sponsor for English Premier League team Everton F.C. pitch-side advertisements.
- Best Buy sponsors the Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford Fusion driven by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and the No. 99 Ford Fusion driven by Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
- Best Buy sponsors the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League which also includes an up-scale box called the "Best Buy Club".
During this expansion Best Buy will also launch dozens more Geek Squad and Best Buy Mobile stand-alone stores in prevailing markets. The company has experimented with Magnolia Home Theatre stand-alone stores in demographics just outside New York City, Chicago, Dallas, and Orlando; the stores took in more than $300 million in the first year of operation combined. With the fall of Circuit City nearly 10% of the market place was up for grabs with Best Buy snatching most of it but not without Walmart far behind. In addition, Best Buy opened a new club-style store known as Warehouse B north of Cincinnati, Ohio, in October 2011. It featured a no-frills atmosphere with most products for sale placed on pallets. Warehouse B offered big discounts on many new old stock and refurbished products ranging from electronics to appliances to jewelry. On December 4, 2012 Warehouse B announced it will close in January 2013. The store closed on January 10.
Best Buy's Sales to Customers by Geographical Regions in 2009
|Geographic Region||Total Sales ( in millions)|
|People's Republic of China||1,558|
From June 2009, there were eight Best Buy stores open in the United Kingdom, operated as part of a joint-venture with The Carphone Warehouse. The first to open was in Thurrock, with later branches opening in Croydon, Derby, Hayes, Liverpool, Merry Hill and Southampton following, with the most recently opened stores in Nottingham and Rotherham.
On November 7, 2011, it was announced that all eleven UK stores would close, because of huge losses of close to £140m. All UK stores and online operations have now closed.
On February 22, 2011, Best Buy closed all nine stores in the People's Republic of China without prior notice to customers and media. According to the announcement on the official website of Best Buy China, it was to continue to invest in electronics retail markets in China. The investment project was to include opening more than 50 "Five Star Electronic" branded stores across the country. As of May 10, 2012, there are 200 opened stores throughout mainland China.
Criticism and controversies
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.
Loss of customer product
In 2007 Raelyn Campbell filed a $54 million lawsuit against Best Buy after the company told her that the computer she had brought in to be repaired (which she said contained important identity information, such as tax records) was lost. She said she had spent months trying to find out the status of the computer and was given conflicting reports by numerous Best Buy employees. The story was covered extensively in the press, including in an appearance she made on The Today Show.
Many writers following her lawsuit dismissed her case as frivolous, but some in blog posts (such as one in The Washington Post) expressed sympathy for Campbell and supported her attempts to draw attention to consumer rights. She said she never expected to receive the amount she sued for, but wanted to bring attention to the case.
In an interview on The Today Show, Campbell said Best Buy unilaterally paid an amount of compensation into her credit card account, but she had not consented to this action in order to settle the matter.
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 its Mexico subsidiary, policies differ greatly from those in the US, such as charging 20% of the tag price for any devolution. The terms of devolution and others are also very different.
In April 2008, the U.S. 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 was challenging[when?] this ruling 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 recycling.
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 hydro – demonstrating a proactive choice to support renewable energy alternatives.
Misconduct by leadership
Schulze, the company's founder, stepped down as chairman of the board in May 2012, after he failed to notify the company's audit committee of misconduct by Dunn, who had a close personal relationship with a female employee while he was the company's chief executive officer. Hatim Tyabji, chairman of the audit committee, replaced Schulze in June.
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- 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.
- Press release (August 20, 2007). "Companies Revealed To Be Purchasing Forest Destruction – Three Logging Firms Responsible for Majority of Destruction of Boreal Forest". Greenpeace. 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.
- Press release (May 11, 2012). "Statement: Best Buy Recognized Among Nation's Green Powered Organizations by U.S. EPA – Best Buy Reduces Carbon Emissons Through Renewable Energy Alternativaes". Best Buy (via Thomson Reuters Investor Relation Services). Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- (registration required) Staff (May 14, 2012). "Best Buy Chairman Steps Down". Associated Press (via The New York Times). Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Staff (May 12, 2012). "Best Buy: Form 8-K (SEC Filing)". Best Buy (via Thomson Reuters Investor Relation Services). Retrieved August 8, 2012.
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