Best Buy Co. notified workers this week that it was cutting some jobs at its big box stores, according to people familiar with the situation, as the retailer adapts to a world where more shopping happens online.
The company has reported skyrocketing sales in recent quarters as pandemic-weary shoppers stock up on appliances, videogame systems and other electronics. Comparable sales, those from websites or stores operating for at least 12 months, rose 23% in the quarter ended Oct. 31. Much of the gains came from online orders, which nearly tripled in the U.S. in the last quarter.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment on the details of the job cuts. “As we have said before, customer shopping behavior will be permanently changed in a way that is even more digital,” said the spokesman. “Our workforce will need to evolve to meet the evolving needs of customers while providing more flexible opportunities for our people.”
Employees started being brought back from furlough in mid-June and in August, the company raised its minimum starting pay to $15 an hour. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a statement in November that comparable sales grew 23% as the company “leveraged our unique capabilities, including our supply chain expertise, flexible store operating model and ability to shift quickly to digital, to meet what is clearly elevated demand for products that help customers work, learn, cook, entertain and connect in their homes.”
Barry said the company paid recognition bonuses to field employees, reinstated a short-term incentive compensation and resumed its 401(k) employer match. Online sales increased 174%, the company said in November, when releasing quarterly earnings. “This is all in light of the fact that technology is playing an even more crucial role in peoples’ lives, and, as a result, our purpose to enrich lives through technology has never been more important,” Shoutz said in the statement.