Best Buy Company, Inc., recently announced that it will match prices with competitors year-round—thus extending a policy that it adopted during the last holiday season.
 
The Richfield-based electronics retailer said that its price-match policy will end the practice of “showrooming”—whereby customers view products in stores only to buy them online at lower prices.
 
Starting March 3, Best Buy will match the prices of all local retail competitors and 19 major online competitors—including Amazon.com, Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com. The policy will apply to all product categories and to “nearly all” in-stock products, but it does not apply to mobile phones and plans.
 
Customers must request the price match at the time of the purchase, and the competitor’s product must be new, identical, and immediately available. Best Buy will match the price one time per identical item per guest.
 
Best Buy will also match prices post-purchase in cases when it lowers its price within 15 days.
 
In January, Target made a similar announcement about price matching. The Minneapolis-based retailer said that it too would match prices with select online competitors year-round. Those rivals include Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Toysrus.com, and Babiesrus.com.
 
Despite concerns that some brick-and-mortar retailers have voiced about showrooming hurting their sales, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly told the Star Tribune in September that he thinks the threat is overstated.
 
“If there was a lot of showrooming, I don’t think we would have $50 billion in revenue,” he told the Minneapolis newspaper. “We must have at least a few people buying in our stores.”
 
Best Buy’s price-match announcement comes about five weeks after the retailer revealed that its same-store sales (sales at stores open at least a year) during the holiday season were essentially flat—welcome news on the heels of several quarters of declines. The announcement promoted its stock to climb 16 percent.
 
Several weeks ago, Best Buy revealed plans to shutter 15 big-box stores in Canada, a move that is expected to result in the reduction of about 900 jobs, according to media reports. The company began a downsizing effort under former CEO Brian Dunn, and it closed 50 U.S. stores last year.

Best Buy is Minnesota’s third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $50.7 billion in its most recent fiscal year. The company’s current fiscal year concludes in early March.
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