Best Buy to furlough 51,000 hourly workers as sales plummet

The Richfield retailer has shifted all its stores to curbside pick up only.
Publish date:

Minnesota's Best Buy has announced it will be furloughing 51,000 of its hourly workers during the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen its sales plunge after a shift to curbside pick up.

The Richfield retailer made the announcement Wednesday morning, saying the cuts will affect 40 percent of its total workforce, most of them part-time store workers.

Those who are furloughed in Minnesota qualify for unemployment insurance, which now has had more than 450,000 applicants since March 16, more than double the entire number of applicants statewide in all of 2019. 

The company says it's still retaining 82 percent of its full-time store and field workers on its payroll, including the majority of its Home Advisors and Geek Squad agents.

Best Buy says that it initially saw a jump in sales as social distancing rules were enacted, as people stocked up on consumer electronics and freezers, leading sales to grow 25 percent in the 8 days that ended Mar. 20.

Since then though, sales have plunged 30 percent, with the retailer shifting to a curbside pick-up model on Mar. 22, while closing dozens of stores mainly in the Northeast U.S. where the coronavirus outbreak is particularly severe.

CEO Corie Barry also announced she would be taking a 50 percent cut in her basic salary, while Best Buy directors will forego 50 percent of their cash retainer fees through Sept. 1, while company executives will also take a 20 percent pay cut.

Follow Bring Me The News on LinkedIn

"The situation remains very fluid and there is still a great deal of uncertainty, particularly as it relates to depth and duration of store closures and consumer confidence over time," she said.

"We are taking the steps necessary to resume providing our customers in-home services in the near future, keeping in mind our overriding priority on the safety of our employees and customers.

"We are also preparing to re-open stores to customers as soon as it is safe to do so, with timing likely to vary at state and local levels. In the meantime, as you would expect, we are focused on making the difficult decisions necessary to ensure that at the end of this crisis Best Buy remains a strong, vibrant company."

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.


Best Buy confounds expectations with huge rise in sales

But it's not all good news for the Richfield retail giant.

Best Buy reveals 11 exclusive tech in 'special edition' sale

The Richfield-based retailer means business this Christmas, and has revealed its latest pitch at holiday shoppers

Best Buy

Best Buy now requiring shoppers wear face masks in its stores

The Richfield retailer announced its new policy on Tuesday.

What is going on with Best Buy's returns policy?

The Richfield-based retailer is getting some bad press.

In latest results, Best Buy warns of possible impact from China tariffs

The Richfield retailer announced better-than-expected Q2 results.

Best Buy is closing its Mall of America store

It's come to the end of its 10 year lease.

Best Buy is having a big 50-hour sale this weekend

It's cutting hundreds of dollars off the price of a bunch of electronics.