September 20, 2019

How Best Buy Survived the Retail Apocalypse

“American retail is in a full blown crisis. Last year, Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy. A few days ago, Sears followed suit. Other big names like Walgreens, Gap, J.Crew, and Macy’s are struggling to keep their heads above water.

Yet one well-known name is on remarkably solid footing: Best Buy.

Claiming about 15 percent of the U.S. consumer electronics market, the retailer’s profit margins and revenue are stable, with the latter beating expectations in six of the last seven quarters. Its overall number of stores has held steady for a decade, at around 1,000 nationally. Its share price has jumped around 270 percent in the last five years, a run of success called “remarkable” by none other than Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Best Buy’s putative vanquisher Amazon.

This wasn’t inevitable. Best Buy faces as much competition from e-commerce giants like Amazon and low-cost superstores like Walmart as anyone. Indeed, the chain seemed headed for oblivion just six years ago.

How did Best Buy avoid the retail apocalypse?”

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