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Best Buy puts the lid on big boxes

Jennifer Collins Mar 29, 2012

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.

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