I searched for a set of powered speakers for my home office, found a pair onine at Best Buy, found they were not available at the location two miles from my house but were available at another location about nine miles away. No problem, I want them today, I got time… I’ll drive and pick them up while folding in some other errands.
Drove to the alternate store and was immediately struck as I walked in – this location looks like it’s going out of businesses. Turns out that’s exactly what’s happening. On a big white board easel, someone had written a notice saying the location is closing 10/28. It is already down to about 20% of what passed a year ago at Best Buy for “normal” inventory. They also DIDN’T have the speakers so those are going to get shipped directly to my home.
I’ve commented before that there is ZERO point to the “big box” retail model if in fact that “big box” isn’t going to have inventory on hand and everything requires a 2-3 day wait to ship to the store or to ship directly to home. If I cannot experience the product in-store or get the benefit of instant gratification on key items, there is NO POINT in paying to heat and cool a giant 30,000 square foot space with nothing in it.
Maybe Best Buy management is starting to comprehend this. A search of news on the company shows they closed over 70 stores in the three years prior to March 2023 and announced in March or April of 2023 they would be closing at least 30 more in 2023 alone. Sales were down 10% companywide in 2022.
I’m not sure there’s enough unique value in a firm just selling stuff off a website to sustain the company. It could turn out that Best Buy’s unique contribution to American retailing was devising a way to somehow appear overstaffed yet short of help, simultaneously.