Best Buy confirms it has recently laid off 5,000 workers

The retailer has seen business boom since the pandemic started, particularly online.

Two days after announcing it will be providing its hourly workers with a "gratitude bonus" of up to $500, Best Buy confirmed it has recently laid off 5,000 staff members.

There had been reports earlier in February that the Richfield retailer had embarked on a job and hour-cutting program at its stores, and this was confirmed by CEO Corie Barry during an earnings call on Thursday morning.

She said that 5,000 employees – mostly full-time – had recently been laid off, with the retailer planning to hire around 2,000 part-time workers.

What's more, the company has said it plans on accelerating its store closures in 2021 as it posted its Q4 results that missed analysts expectations, with the firm signaling a warning that uncertainty over COVID-19 makes it difficult to predict demand for work-from-home tech as the vaccine is rolled out.

It comes in the same week that Best Buy announced it will be providing full-time hourly workers with a $500 bonus and part-time workers a $200 bonus if they were employed by the retailer as of Feb. 15.

Best Buy is among the major retailers that have seen sales surge during the pandemic, joining the likes of Target and Amazon in reporting bumper results.

But much of the uptick in sales has been realized through Best Buy's website, though stores remain an important location for curbside and in-person order fulfillment.

Online accounted for 43% of its 4th quarter sales, growing 90% to $6.7 billion compared to a year before. Overall, revenue over the busy holiday season grew by 11.5% to $16.9 billion.

As well as the bonuses, Best Buy has announced it will be following other major retailers in offering PTO for employees to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

It will give part-time employees four hours paid time off and full-time employees eight hours. This is more than the four hours for all hourly employees being offered by Target.

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