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Best Buy lays off hundreds of store employees as shopping trends shift

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Best Buy logos and store in South Edmonton Common. Friday, May 20, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Artur Widak | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Best Buy said Friday that it is laying off hundreds of store workers as more of its shoppers buy online and sales of consumer electronics weaken.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the layoffs, but declined to share the specific number. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, Best Buy said it is “evolving our stores and the experiences we offer to better reflect the changes in customer shopping behavior, as well as how we organize our teams to ensure we continue to provide our expertise, products and services in the best way possible.”

The jobs market in the U.S. remains strong and labor market continues to be tight. The unemployment rate was 3.5%, even as more people got back to work after the Covid pandemic, according to the recent jobs report from the Labor Department.

Yet retailers, including Best Buy, have struck a cautious tone as shoppers pull back in some categories like consumer electronics. Retailers have seen softer sales of discretionary merchandise as consumers pay more for necessities because of inflation and spend more on services again, such as booking flights or dining at restaurants.

Best Buy is also following a period when many of its customers sprang for new laptops, kitchen appliances and home theater systems during the early years of the pandemic. Much of what it sells are big-ticket items that people don’t replace frequently.

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