Best Buy puts the lid on big boxes

As more shoppers move online, Best Buy has been caught with too many stores and not enough customers. So, the chain will close a slew of its big box stores and open many smaller ones.

Kai Ryssdal: Best Buy said today it's going to downsize, close 50 stores and lay off hundreds of workers.

That's what happens when a company loses almost $2 billion in just a couple of months. Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: Here's the problem with big box stores, says ITIC analyst Laura Didio.

Laura Didio: People don't want to spend an hour walking around trying to find what they're looking for.

That's one reason Best Buy is closing nearly 5 percent of its U.S. stores, many of which are thousands of square feet. Wendy Liebmann of WSL Strategic Retail says this shift goes beyond Best Buy.

Wendy Liebmann: The notion of the big box store on every corner is absolutely old world today.

Liebmann says electronics retailers don't need as much space as more people shop online.

Liebmann: I don't have to go in to buy a CD or DVD today, and that's a whole area or aisle or section of the store that you don't need.

Best Buy's been under pressure from competitors like Amazon, which has no stores, and WalMart, a true superstore. Best Buy isn't just cutting back on big outlets, it's adding 100 little ones. Again, Laura Didio.

Didio: I think it's Best Buy in a smaller box.

The first stores open next year.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.


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