Report: Best Buy to Reduce Retail Staff
Richfield-based electronics retailer Best Buy Co. plans to lay off an unspecified number of retail employees, The Wall Street Journal reported late Wednesday. The newspaper cited “people familiar with the situation.”
When reached for comment, a Best Buy spokesman told TCB that the company does not “generally comment on specific personnel matters.” The spokesman added that the retailer’s workforce “will need to evolve to meet the evolving needs of customers.”
By Wednesday evening, though, word of the alleged layoffs spread across social media. On Reddit, one user shared a photo of a severance notification document.
It’s not immediately clear if it’s an isolated case or a widespread situation, though the wording of the document seems to indicate the latter.
“As part of Best Buy’s Enterprise Strategy, changes in our store operating and staffing model were implemented to support how we meet the customer where and when they need us, which is changing rapidly in today’s environment,” the document read.
Best Buy is conducting mass layoffs across stores today as part of an ‘Enterprise Strategy’ restructuring. The retail chain has experienced record profits and their stock price is at record highs during the pandemic pic.twitter.com/J3J87wUFQM
— Michael Sainato (@msainat1) February 10, 2021
The severance notification gave the employee until Feb. 26 to secure another job within the company.
The company’s third-quarter filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission referenced charges related to undetailed “corporate organizational changes.” The filing showed that the company reported $36 million in “domestic termination benefits” in the quarter. Best Buy also reported additional costs related to its decision to to exit operations in Mexico.
The company suggested that there could be significant operational changes to come.
According to Best Buy’s Nov. 30 SEC filing:
“It is possible that we will incur material future restructuring costs, both in our Domestic and International segments, but we are unable to forecast the timing and magnitude of such costs.
“As we look forward, the environment is still evolving, and our operating model and supporting cost structure are evolving as well. The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of retail and compelled us to change our operating model in the best interest of our employees and customers. We have also expedited some planned strategic changes that will allow us to emerge from this time even stronger.”
After the 10-Q filing, TCB inquired to Best Buy about the domestic restructuring costs but got no response.
As of Wednesday evening, Best Buy officials didn’t immediately respond to another inquiry about the domestic restructuring costs.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a group of workers began circulating a petition alleging “willful labor cuts.” The petition, posted on coworker.org, accused the retailer of cutting hours at dozens of retail locations across the country. Some workers who were promised full-time employment at 32 hours are “struggling to see much higher than 25,” according to the petition.
Best Buy officials didn’t immediately respond to questions about the petition or alleged hours reductions.