The cover story in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek provides an in-depth look at the history of Best Buy Company, Inc., including its current back-and-forth with founder Richard Schulze, who is concocting a buyout offer.
The feature, titled “The Battle for Best Buy, the Incredible Shrinking Big Box,” chronicles the Richfield-based retailer’s story—from Schulze’s founding of the company as Sound of Music in 1966 to its recent management shake-up, including the resignation of former CEO Brian Dunn amid a scandal, and the subsequent appointment of former Carlson chief executive Hubert Joly as his successor.
Most provocative is the issue’s cover: It features an illustration by Nathan Fox—known for his contributions to Marvel comics—that depicts a horde of zombies clad in Best Buy’s signature blue polo shirts. The image contains the words “Big Box Zombie,” suggesting that the electronics retailer is attempting to come back from the dead.
The story, which was posted online Thursday, describes Best Buy as a latecomer to e-commerce trends that lost market share to Amazon and other online retailers while it maintained a focus on big-box stores. But it also suggests that “Best Buy has time to right itself,” as it has $50 billion in revenue, a dominant share of its market, and a strong balance sheet. Furthermore, online retailers could lose some of their pricing advantage as more states force them to levy sales taxes, the magazine reported.
Analysts told the news outlet that Best Buy needs a differentiator—some sort of offering or experience unavailable online or at another store. Both Joly and Schulze have cited improved customer service as a solution.
Ultimately, Bloomberg Businessweek poses the question, “Is [Schulze] really the best guy to fix Best Buy?” The magazine points out that Schulze appears to be teaming up with people who were also around when the company began struggling, and some who have heard his turnaround pitch say it contains nothing to suggest radical change.
To read the full Bloomberg Businessweek story, click here.