Best Buy considers makeover to distinguish itself from competitors

A Best Buy store in San Francisco, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: Well Best Buy reports fourth-quarter earnings today. The consumer electronics giant has been losing ground lately thanks to increasing competition from online retailers, as well as discount stores like Walmart.

But as Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports, Best Buy has a new strategy.


Alisa Roth: Best Buy wants you to know it's not just another big-box store. So it's revamping: new stores will be less cluttered and they'll have sales staff to show you how all your appliances can work together.

Michael Pachter follows Best Buy at Wedbush Securities, and he says the company used to be a favorite.

Michael Pachter: They would have every model of every television. They'd have all the consumer entertainment that you could hope to find, and they had a really knowledgeable staff that could help you figure out what you needed.

Part of the problem is now you can get all that and more on the Internet. And Pachter isn't convinced the new strategy's going to bring people back in.

Pachter: Where they're misguided is that I think most consumers are going to value service very little in three to five years because I think most device manufacturers are going to build in natural and easy integration of devices.

That is that your cell phone will be designed to talk to your TV so you won't need sales staff to help you do that. He thinks the only way for Best Buy to thrive again is to downsize and specialize in one product, say, a small store that does nothing but cell phones.

Best Buy didn't return calls before deadline.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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